Last week, we learned that Cyprus, yet another bankrupt EU country, was going to try to replenish its wealth by confiscating money from all but smallest accounts held in its banks. Things were so bad that officials were warning depositors to “get your money out while you can.” In America, we looked on horrified, grateful that it can’t happen here. Except that maybe it can.
The Investment Watch blog is working to confirm reports that banks are circulating in-house memos telling employees that the DHS has announced that the Patriot Act gives it the right to seize, without a warrant, any and all customer bank accounts, to make “periodic and unannounced visits” to banks, and to open and inspect “select safe deposit boxes.”
These same memos also say that the DHS “shall, at the discretion of the agent supervising the search, remove, photograph or seize as evidence” such items as “bar gold, gold coins , firearms of any kind unless manufactured prior to 1878, documents such as passports or foreign bank account records, pornography or any material that, in the opinion of the agent, shall be deemed of to be of a contraband nature.”
The memo also warns bank employees to keep their mouths shut. They can lose their jobs and be prosecuted under the Patriot Act if they release “improper . . . classified DHS Security information” to the public, including customers whose safe deposit boxes the DHS has inspected. Bank employees are also barred from taking to the media or releasing information on the internet.
As noted, Investment Watch is in the process of confirming this report. It’s not hard, though, to believe that it’s true. To date, the DHS has given itself an open checkbook to buy billions of bullets and thousands of tanks and guns. Moreover, it has held itself out as being above the law, since it has refused to respond to Congressional requests from Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) as well as from fifteen other Republican House members, demanding information about the DHS buying binge, including giving information about the urban warfare tanks that it is shipping all over the United States. Small wonder, then, that so many Americans view it with suspicion.
Could what happened in Cyprus happen here?