Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Homeland Security Safe Deposit Crackdown--Hoax?


Urban Legends run afoot because they sound likely. There is currently one on Homeland Security's crack-down regarding private safe deposit box use:
A family member from Irvine, CA (who's a branch manager at Bank of America) told us two weeks ago that her bank held a "workshop" where the last two days were dedicated to discussing their bank's new security measures. During these last two days, the workshop included members from the Homeland Security Office who instructed them on how to field calls from customers and what they are to tell them in the event of a national disaster. She said they were told how only agents from Homeland Security (during such an event) would be in charge of opening safe deposit boxes and determining what items would be given to bank customers.

At this point they were told that no weapons, cash, gold, or silver will be allowed to leave the bank - only various paperwork will be given to its owners. After discussing the matter with them at length, she and the other employees were then told not to discuss the subject with anyone.

I found the news alarming and decided to find out more myself. On a trip to my bank here in Houston, I remarked to a young bank employee (who's new there), "well I guess you've been told all that stuff by the manager and the Homeland Security about what to tell your customers" - and to my amazement, the young woman came right out and said yes she'd been through all that, then whispered to me across the counter, "but we're not supposed to talk about - I could lose my job."

Why haven't you heard more about this?

First of all, since maybe only banks' upper management is privy to the new "rules", the information doesn't trickle down so easily.

Also keep in mind that employees have been told NOT to say anything about this, that it's a matter of National Security (with an allusion toward arrest if they do). They face possibly losing their job too. Another reason is that bank employees may not think it's important, or they believe they're a unique part of the effort towards curtailing "terrorism" and helping America's internal defenses.

This fits with the traditional urban legend pattern. It's scary and makes sense, considering the way that Bush and his coterie has been attacking fundamental civil and economic rights. It could be true. So far, however, it's just an urban legend. I hope it stays that way.

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

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