FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2011
SCHUMER SUCCESSFULLY RESTORES FUNDING FOR VITAL ANTI-TERROR FINANCIAL DATABASE THAT ALLOWED LONG ISLAND POLICE TO IDENTIFY FUNDING SOURCE FOR TIMES SQUARE BOMBER; DEFEATS PROPOSAL THAT WOULD HAVE ENDED LOCAL POLICE ACCESS TO DATABASE
In April, Schumer Met With Top Law Enforcement Officials On Long Island To Launch Fight Against Ill-Advised Cuts; Schumer Successfully Defeated Plan to End Local Access to Database and Restored Funding in Omnibus
2012 Budget Proposal Would Have Eliminated Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), A Crucial Tool Used by Local Law Enforcement to Track and Identify Financing for Terrorism and Drug Smuggling
Schumer: This Is A Major Win In Our Effort to Ensure Long Island Law Enforcement Has Continued Access to the Tools They Need to Combat Terrorism and Other Crimes
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that he has successfully protected funding for a vital anti-terrorism program that assisted Long Island law enforcement officials in tracking down and indentifying the financing for attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an organization in the Treasury Department tasked with tracking criminal financing and money laundering, currently provides local law enforcement officials with direct access to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) database. The Treasury Department, as part of their FY2012 budget proposal, announced earlier this year that they would be cutting $1.35 million from the program, which would have ended local law enforcement access to this vital law enforcement database. In April, Schumer met with top law enforcement officials from Long Island at the Nassau Police Intelligence Center and announced a major effort to beat back the cuts and ensure local police still had access to the database. Schumer announced today that he was able to restore the cuts to FinCen in the final 2012 budget bill which will allow for continued access to the BSA database for local law enforcement.
“This is an important victory that will give law enforcement the tools they need to continue to be to track down the financing used by terrorists, drug kingpins and other criminals,” said Schumer. “This database is vital to local law enforcement and continued access to it will allow our police to follow the money to the source of the crime.”
This past April, Schumer visited the Nassau Police Intelligence Center in Massapequa to tour the facility and launch a public push to provide full funding in the FY2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to continue giving law enforcement access to this crucial lifeline in their fight against terrorism and drug smuggling. The President’s FY2012 budget request proposed eliminating all direct access to the FinCEN tracking system for state and local law enforcement in order to save a paltry $1.35 million.
Currently, FinCEN supplies all suspicious banking information related to terrorist suspects and suspected drug dealers to local law enforcement. While appearing at the Intelligence Center in April, Schumer stated that removing direct access would eviscerate local financial crime enforcement in places like Long Island and could prevent local law enforcement around the country from detecting and preventing the next terrorist plot.
Schumer noted at the time that major financial investigations launched by local District Attorneys in Nassau and Suffolk could be slowed, if not ground to a halt, by ending local law enforcement’s access to the tracking database. In addition, local resources would be wasted by redundant financial investigations that would be necessary in the absence of direct access to FinCEN's tracking system. Moreover, a lack of direct access to FinCEN would cause New York, Nassau and Suffolk Police Departments to lose their main tracking device for inter-state and local drug dealers selling prescription drugs and heroin.
Schumer pointed out that the most high profile success of the program can be found in the case against the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad. According to local law enforcement, shortly before the attempted car bombing in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad traveled to Suffolk County where he received cash that he used to help carry out his plot. Local police, in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used FinCEN data to track the movement of funds to Shazad from a local Suffolk County resident.