We know the NSA spies on just about everybody in the world. Now it seems the agency might also have its fingers rooting around in bank accounts, not just to spy, but to manipulate balances.

Simply put, it appears the NSA has the capability to steal your money and may well have already used this power.

A little tidbit in the recently released White House intelligence task force report raises a serious red flag.TechDirt reports Trevor Timm found a recommendation that seems to indicate the NSA might be manipulating bank account balances.

Part 2 of recommendation 31 reads, “Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial system.”

TechDirt’s Mike Masnick sums it up.

While there have been plenty of reports about the US running hundreds of offensive cyberattacks on others, outside of things like Stuxnet, not many have been directly identified. And I’m unaware of any claims suggesting attempts to “manipulate the financial system” of any particular country and/or to “change the amounts held in financial accounts.” It seems a bit odd to come out of the blue like that, and certainly suggests that this particular bullet point likely came as a result of a rather specific thing that came up during the task force’s review.

Masnick hits the nail on the head. Why would the task force come up with such a specific “reform” if there wasn’t some evidence that the U.S. has already engaged in this kind of activity?

Defenders of the security state will undoubtedly try to convince us that the U.S. government would never use that kind of power against you or me. But the tired, old “it’s for the terrorists” line carries absolutely no water any more. We know the NSA pries into our private data, tracks our cell phones and reads our emails. What’s to stop it from screwing with our bank accounts?


In fact, the NSA pretty much does whatever it pleases with zero accountability. Undoubtedly, revelations via the Snowden leaks and inferences from documents such as this task force report represents only the very tip of the iceberg.

Washington D.C. will never reform this runaway organization. Even a relatively positive breakthrough such as the White House intelligence task force report means nothing. The White House and Congress churn out all kinds of reports and recommendations. But little actual reform ever comes of them. They count on the media cycle spun up by the release of their reports and the accompanying incredulous soundbites to pacify the public. Then they go on with business as usual.

We have to attack this monster from the outside.

Visit OffNow.org to find out how you can work to rein in the NSA through state and local activism.

Mike Maharrey