The Wall Street Journal is reporting that hundreds of U.S. government agencies have been tracking money transfers between the U.S. and at least 20 countries without any court oversight.
This is part of the Transaction Record Analysis Center, or TRAC. It was set up as part of a 2014 settlement with Western Union but was quietly expanded to include more than 600 law enforcement agencies.
The lead of TRAC told the WSJ that the program is used to catch drug cartels and money laundering criminals. He said: “We don’t broadcast it to the world, but we don’t run from or hide from it either.”
A spokesperson for the Arizona attorney general said this: “Courts have held that customers using money transmitter businesses do not have the same expectation of privacy as traditional banking customers.”
The Pentagon has misplaced $220 billion worth of government gear provided to military contractors, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Where did it go?
This “gear” includes “ammunition, missiles, torpedoes” and components for those things. The report concedes that the $220 billion estimate is based on a 2014 report so the actual amount is probably much higher.
Reason.com points out that in “2001, the Pentagon said it would address the issue by 2005. In 2020, it said the process would be complete by 2026.” Should we hold our breath for that?
In November, the Pentagon failed its fifth consecutive audit when it could only account for 39% of its $3.5 trillion in assets. So how do we feel about that $858 billion budget that was passed last December given this information?
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The bill would make it illegal to publish anything, online or off, that advances “white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory,’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group.”
That is a chillingly broad range of topics and it doesn’t take a genius to see how much power this could give the government to remove any semblance of free speech.
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas introduced the bill. It may never be taken up for a vote or pass but it is telling that it was introduced in the first place.
Is the news article you are reading being written by a person or a bot? This newsletter is being written by a person. Hi Mom!
CNET was recently called out for using bots to write news articles. The articles were attributed to “CNET Money Staff” and had disclosures showing that the article “was generated using automation technology” but “edited and fact-checked” by a person. Readers noticed that the AI had made simple math errors such as the calculation of compound interest.
Is this an ethical quandary or the future of journalism? CNET editor Connie Guglielmo defended this as an “experiment” done in order to “see if the tech can help our busy staff of reporters and editors with their job to cover topics from a 360-degree perspective.”
I would say that given how little the public currently trusts the media, now is not the time for these kinds of experiments.
News By The Numbers
118. That was the age of Sister André when she died on Tuesday. She had been the oldest known person alive. She was born when Theodore Roosevelt was President of The United States.
$2,300. That is how much a 94-year-old woman owed in property taxes when the state of Minnesota seized her home, sold it for half of its value and pocketed the profit. The Supreme Court decided that it will hear her case and decide if this is legal.
86%. That is how much Russia’s current account surplus grew in 2022, a record high.
Carol Baskin is trending because of this story which asserts that the Tiger King reality star’s husband may still be alive. In the documentary, it was suggested that she might have been responsible for his death.
Leslie Jones is trending because she is guest hosting The Daily Show this week.
Julian Sands is trending because the actor has been missing for five days after having gone on a hike in Southern California.
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This newsletter is written and researched by Natali Morris.
Please feel free to reach Natali at [email protected]
for any editorial feedback.