Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Press Release
March 22, 2005

Washington, D.C., March 22, 2005:

The Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights expresses concern over making permanent without debate provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act that threaten civil liberties.

"Enlarging the haystack of information rather than securing better information makes law enforcement's job, finding the needle, harder and therefore makes us less safe," says J. Bradley Jansen, director of the Center.

Just last week, Federal Reserve Board Governor Susan Schmidt Bies lamented banking organizations' "defensive filing" deluge of Suspicious Activities Reports overwhelming law enforcement. Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act expands the filing of SARs by more types of businesses and encourages greater filing of SARs.

Section 303 of the USA PATRIOT Act allowed for the expedited Congressional review of the anti-money-laundering sections. Unfortunately last year's intelligence reform bill struck the provision allowing greater debate over these issues. Now law enforcement is suffering from this fatal conceit that they have a monopoly on good ideas. "For Congress to voluntarily turn itself into a rubber stamp body is hardly intelligent," says the Center's co-director Bretigne Shaffer.

"Our nation was founded on the understanding that a free and peaceful society requires strict limits on the powers of the state," says Shaffer. "Recent history has only confirmed what the founders understood: that trading liberty for security produces neither."

The Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights is dedicated to promoting public understanding of the importance of privacy rights in protecting human rights.

For more information, please contact:

J. Bradley Jansen
bjansen@financialprivacy.org

Bretigne Shaffer
Bretigne@financialprivacy.org
(646) 226-4011