The rise of the meta-criminal

Trevor Timm of the Electronic Freedom Frontier dug up a very interesting nugget. It was embedded in the heralded December 2013 White House task force report on spying and snooping.

Under Recommendations, #31, section 2, he found this:

“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate financial systems.”
Timm quite rightly wondered: why were these warnings in the report?

Were the authors just anticipating a possible crime? Or were they reflecting the fact that the NSA had already been engaging in the crime?

If this was just a bit of anticipation, why leave it naked in the report? Why not say there was no current evidence the NSA had been manipulating financial systems?

Those systems would, of course, include the stock market, and all trading markets around the world.

Well, there is definite evidence of other NSA financial snooping. From Spiegel Online, “‘Follow the Money’: NSA Spies on International Payments,” 9/15/13:

“The National Security Agency (NSA) widely monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions, according to documents seen by SPIEGEL.”

“The NSA’s Tracfin data bank also contained data from the Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a network used by thousands of banks to send transaction information securely…the NSA spied on the organization on several levels, involving, among others, the [NSA] agency’s ‘tailored access operations’ division…”


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