On Saturday, Investment Watch Blog revealed that in June of 2011, the Department of Homeland Security had sent written messages to banks throughout the United States informing them that the agency has the authority, “under the Patriot Act,” to inspect safety deposit boxes, without a warrant.
Investment Watch discovered this information in a message board post from two years ago. According to the post, the DHS agents that investigate the boxes “’shall, at the discretion of the agent supervising the search, remove, photograph or seize as evidence’ any of the following items ‘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.’”
Further, bank employees are forbidden to reveal when DHS agents perform these inspections, even to the person whose box was inspected:
DHS memos also state that banks are informed that any bank employee, on any level, that releases “improper” “classified DHS Security information” to any member of the public, to include the customers whose boxes have been clandestinely opened and inspected and “any other party, to include members of the media” and further “that the posting of any such information on the internet will be grounds for the immediate termination of the said employee or employees and their prosecution under the Patriot Act.” Safety deposit box holders and depositors are not given advanced notice when failed banks shut their doors.
If this is true, it reflects what’s already been revealed about the DHS: that the agency is focusing on Americans for their political beliefs rather than actual terrorists, as gold and gun owners have been targeted by the agency as “domestic extremists.”
The agency has released documents listing Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, gun rights supporters, people who oppose abortion, who oppose the Federal Reserve, who oppose illegal immigration and who don’t trust the government as domestic extremists and terrorists.
Earlier this week, Arkansas State DHS Fusion Center Director Richard Davis admitted that the centers spy on Americans with “anti-government” views.
“The misconceptions are that we are conducting spying operations on US citizens, which is of course not a fact. That is absolutely not what we do,” Davis said, adding that they observe “domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government. We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.”