Temple Political

Are There Any Checks and Balances on the Government’s Power to Check our Balances? The Fate of Financial Privacy During the War on Terror

14 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 517 (2005) 







In the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the laws affecting money laundering and financial privacy in the United States have been changed to give law enforcement agencies easier access to financial information. Although the changes to the law were passed with the claim that they were needed to intercept terrorist financing, the anti-money laundering provi-sions enacted by the USA PATRIOT Act are being used routinely against non-terrorist criminal suspects as part of regular law enforcement processes. Although the apprehension of ordinary criminals by any means available will sound perfectly acceptable to many, it is at odds with our tra-ditional approach to financial privacy. This paper concludes that Congress ought to revisit the money laundering regime to make sure it strikes the appropriate balance between the legitimate de-sire for financial privacy and the legitimate need for law enforcement access to suspicious accounts. After review, lawmakers may find that procedural adjustments to provide protection from law en-forcement abuse of the system are called for.

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