Banks Are Not Mere Bystanders
By Ilan Weinglass
The best way to improve public-private cooperation between banks and law enforcement is to grant top-secret level clearances to a certain number of bank compliance offers in the United States. This would effectively set up a “secure channel” of information sharing between banks and law enforcement. According to the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Stuart Levey, much of the information held by law enforcement about whom and what to look for is classified. Intelligence agencies have an obligation to protect their sources and methods, making secrecy an imperative. Furthermore, law enforcement is often reticent about declassifying, or ‘downgrading’ intelligence in order to protect ongoing investigations. In addition to intelligence and investigatory concerns, individuals or companies will occasionally remain off OFAC’s list of designated entities due to policy considerations or diplomatic sensitivities.
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