The U.S. Patriot Act, including the provisions that apply to banks, has been a tremendous boon to the country's efforts to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, a U.S. Treasury Department official told a Congressional committee today. One critically important tool against terrorist financing was the mandate that the financial sector share information with the government, said Stuart A. Levey, under secretary of terrorism and financial intelligence. The Treasury Department has implemented a system that allows law enforcement to transmit names of persons of interest to the financial sector to determine whether those institutions have any relevant transaction or account information. The industry reports back only when it has information, Levey said. Since the 1970s, banks have been required to have anti-money laundering programs in place, so those provisions of the Patriot Act simply expanded slightly the requirements on banks already specified in the Bank Secrecy Act. But because ...
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