Friday, July 31, 2009

Sneak and peek

John Ashcroft's law firm is representing William Browder in a convoluted legal action against various Russian entities.

The specific expertise of Ashcroft's law firm in the legal action is in what juicy information might be in wire transfers run through banks in New York City.

As US Attorney General, John Ashcroft was one of the people overseeing a massive data snoop into the SWIFT international banking transfer system. That system snoop was only supposed to be looking at terrorism-related transfers, but of course all the action was in the procedures for determining what might be a suspicious transfer from a terrorism perspective. For all we know, big sums of money coming out of Russia met the requirement.

At the very least, Ashcroft might now have an advantage in this litigation of knowing what to ask for, having seen the guts of the system under the powers given by George Bush to George Bush as part of the war on terror. Unintended consequences and all that.

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