Sec. Snow, Cheney Defend Bank Searches
Outgoing Secretary of the Treasury John Snow said the program to troll through the financial records of Americans without warrants is the thing “I’m proudest of …. It’s really government at its best.”
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A secret program that allowed U.S. officials to examine hundreds of thousands of private banking records from around the world in search of terrorist ties has been “absolutely essential” to protecting the country from further attacks, Vice President Cheney said yesterday.
Outgoing Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said that the program, in effect since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is the thing “I’m proudest of” in his tenure and insisted that strong safeguards protect the privacy of individual Americans. “It’s really government at its best,” Snow said at a news conference. “It’s responsible government. It’s effective government.”
The comments by Cheney, Snow and other senior Bush administration officials were made the day after news organizations exposed the surveillance effort, in which the Treasury Department has subpoenaed data from an international banking cooperative that serves as a messaging service for overseas monetary transfers.
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