FBI calls crypto an issue in a recent US Senate Hearing. The comments were made by FBI Director Christopher Wray while testifying on the US Senate Homeland Security Committee.
FBI Director Christopher Wray and other intelligence officials testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee at a hearing on security threats facing the U.S. Director Wray updated members on efforts to address racially motivated violent extremists in wake of recent domestic terrorist attacks. Other topics included counterterrorism efforts, stopping foreign influence in elections, cybersecurity measures, border security, and Director Wray’s interactions with the White House and President Trump on security matters.
Former Presidential Candidate and Republican Senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, asked the intelligence officers whether the U.S. should not take some kind of effort in dealing with cryptocurrencies and its challenges they present to law enforcement’s anti-terrorist activities. He said:
“I’m not in the Banking Committee. I don’t begin to understand how cryptocurrency works. I would think it is more difficult to carry out your work when we can’t follow the money because the money is hidden from us and wonder whether there should not be some kind of effort taken in our nation to deal with cryptocurrency.”
FBI Director Wray took the lead in answering the question, saying that cryptocurrencies already present a problem for the agency.
CRYPTOCURRENCY IS ALREADY AN ISSUE FOR US AND WILL BECOME A BIGGER ONE. WHETHER OR NOT THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF APPROPRIATE SUBJECT OF SOME KIND OF REGULATION AS A RESPONSE FOR ME TO SPEAK TO. WE ARE LOOKING AT IT FROM AN INVESTIGATOR PERSPECTIVE ENCODING TOOLS WE HAVE TO TRY TO FOLLOW THE MONEY, EVEN IN THIS NEW WORLD WE’RE LIVING IN. IT IS PART OF A BROADER TREND. DIRECTOR TRAVERS ALLUDED TO IT, IN TERMS OF THE TERRORIST THREAT. IN TERMS OF OUR ADVERSARIES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. BECOMING MORE FAST FILL WITH TECHNOLOGY — FACILE WITH TECHNOLOGY, IN PARTICULAR THOSE THAT IN HIM AND I’S — ANONYMIZE , CRYPTIC CURRENCY, MESSAGING PLATFORMS. WE ARE MOVING AS A COUNTRY AND A WORLD IN A DIRECTION WHERE WE DO NOT GET OUR ACT TOGETHER, MONEY, PEOPLE, CAN INDICATION, EVIDENCE, FACTS, ALL THE BREAD AND BUTTER FOR ALL OF US TO DO OUR WORK WILL BE ESSENTIALLY WALLED OFF FROM THE MEN AND WOMEN WE REPRESENT.FBI Director Christopher Wray
While the topics discussed were focused more on National Security issues that revolved around drugs and Chinese interference in technology, the issue of cryptocurrencies did appear briefly. The crypto community has been understandably worried by the sentiments expressed by the FBI Director. However, it is important to note that the Director was speaking from a purely investigative point of view. In his estimation, cryptocurrencies make it harder for them to track monetary transactions that can be made to anyone in the world. However, recent KYC and other measures have reduced the possibility of misuse. Further, cash is still a viable and untraceable form of payment even though it is not instantaneous or worldwide. Recently, it was shown that international banks have been laundering and transferring money for nefarious organisations and have had to pay fines in Millions of dollars. FBI calls crypto an issue even though it poses a very similar risk to any system of payment available in the market.