Report: CIA bulk collecting international financial data

The Central Intelligence Agency is collecting bulk records on international financial transactions under the same law empowering the National Security Agency to bulk collect the phone and Internet records of Americans, The New York Times reports.

The CIA’s classified collection program, which unnamed former and current government officials said was only one of several U.S. bulk data collection programs, focuses on financial transactions into and out of the United States handled by companies like Western Union.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, however, requires that a tie to a terrorist organization must be established before the CIA search can be run on the database, reports the Times.

The CIA collects foreign intelligence and conducts counterintelligence activities. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, however, the U.S. government has already been collecting information on large financial transactions.

In August, a Reuters investigation revealed that 12 federal agencies were collaborating as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Operations Division, including the CIA, the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency.

The unit investigates drug crimes, money laundering, and organized crime.

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