The New York Times reported on Friday that in the days following the September 11, 2006 attacks, the United States subponaed the entire database of SWIFT, the international inter-bank transfer settlment organization. This database would contain the records of a vast quantity of international money movements, most of them legitimate. What started as an urgent and temporary measure has since become institutionalized without any congressional approval or oversight. Searches of the database are said to be targeted with justification required, but it is but a short hop to fishing expeditions. What is also troubling is that a large quantity of these transactions have no connection whatever to the United States, but the US government is able to compel their production from a Belgian cooperative. See: Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror - New York Times.