In the U.S., terrorists are everywhere. They’re hiding under every rock, behind every tree, and when you least expect it, they will jump out and strike. And so, since 9/11, the search for terrorists has greatly expanded to cover almost every aspect of Americans’ lives.
Walter Soehnge, of Providence, R.I., found himself the subject of scrutiny from the Department of Homeland Security, because of the potentially terrorist act of paying off his credit card bill.
Soehnge told the Providence Journal that he was “madder than a panther with kerosene on his tail” when he found out that DHS was scrutinizing his attempt to pay off his credit card.
What got him so upset might seem trivial to some people who have learned to accept small infringements on their freedom as just part of the way things are in this age of terror-fed paranoia. It’s that “everything changed after 9/11” thing. . . .
The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.
And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges’ behavior was found questionable. . . .
After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn’t changed. . . .
They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn’t move until the threat alert is lifted. — Providence Journal
Under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, amended by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury, financial institutions must report all transactions above $3,000 to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to be analyzed for potential connections to terrorism or money laundering.
Soehnge’s transaction was eventually cleared, according to the report.
The irony to this blatant loss of financial privacy is that terrorists frequently run up large credit card debts and fail to pay them off.