“It’s ironic that during a historic border crisis, this is the focus of any US senator,” Conner said of Wyden.
Goddard: Value in Court Oversight
Although Goddard says customs summonses are an important and effective tool to combat transnational criminal groups, he shares some of the surveillance concerns that Wyden detailed in his letter.
As attorney general, he said he always got permission from a state court to collect and access wire transfer data. During his tenure, the Attorney General’s office seized approximately $20 million as part of anti-money laundering and anti-smuggling efforts.
Although he said he was unaware of how the process currently works, Goddard cautioned that law enforcement is not tied to court oversight and is indiscriminately accessing large amounts financial data.
“We have done everything possible to ensure that we are not targeting any single transaction, any transaction with legitimate purposes, and the fact that none of our foreclosures have been challenged in court, I think, speaks for itself- even,” he said.
Wyden pointed out that this was one of his main concerns. He noted that the TRAC database containing millions of customer financial records — including data provided by Homeland Security Investigations — is accessible to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies without any court review.