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The Undue Burdens of the Bank Secrecy Act

By James Rockett
October 04, 2005
The USA PATRIOT Act was enacted into law in late-October 2001, less than 45 days after the horrifying events of
9/11. There was virtually no debate on the USA PATRIOT Act since during the majority of that time Congress itself was out of session due to the anthrax scare during much of the period following 9/11. Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act was, in essence, a wholesale importation of the “Know Your Customer” regulation that had been proposed prior to 9/11, and which had provoked vigorous criticism. The Know Your Customer proposal had inflamed the American public resulting in more than 300,000 comments condemning the proposal as an excessive governmental intrusion into the daily financial affairs of the public. But, following 9/11 we entered a new era and Americans were prepared to sacrifice many aspects of what had been our daily lives to prevent the horrors of another terrorist attack. And Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act was enacted based on that premise; In essence, Congress told us that if banks had just watched the flow of dollars we could have prevented the events of 9/11. Based on the evidence available now, this was and remains cynically disingenuous....