How Client-9 Was Caught

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NPR had an interesting segment this morning (March 12) as to how Client-9, formerly known as Eliot Spitzer, was found out.  As you might expect, our old friend the USA Patriot Act had a part to play, helping fulfill its mission of keeping America safe from the emperors’ clubs that threaten our way of life.  But there is more to that story.

You probably know that cash transactions of more than $10,000 have to be reported, but if, like me, you thought your many cash transactions totaling $9,999 were off the radar, think again.  NPR interviewed bank officials who said that bank software scrutinizes every transaction — that’s every transaction, whether you’re withdrawing money you’re going to use to rent "Kristen" or buying a croissant with your debit card — and flags any transaction that is part of a pattern that the software deems "suspicious."  Client-9’s frequent cash transfers — each less than $10,000 but possibly adding up to as much as $80,000 — were flagged by this software and this triggered a money-laundering investigation.  As it turned out, something probably needed to be laundered, but it wasn’t money.

As NPR reports, part of this system was put in place by the USA Patriot Act.  Number of terrorists caught plotting (to date): [classified].  Number of governors caught cheating (to date): one.  Further proof that the USA Patriot Act is [classified].

But the irony lies in the source of another part of that same tracking system, which, it turns out, was put in place as a result of investigations into corporate financial practices by a certain zealous former New York attorney general.  Who is also, as of this morning, a former New York governor.  The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

Andy Borowitz foreshadowed today’s announcement with his post yesterday about Spitzer’s tearful resignation from the Emperor’s Club.

Link: (audio)
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