While some may have called it a conspiracy theory at one point, a new report is shedding light on the United States Intelligence services' cozy relationship with the nation's central banking structure, and how they collaborate to spy on foreign banks.
Confidential accounts within the Federal Reserve have been used by the U.S. Treasury and other departments "several times a year to analyze the asset holdings of the central banks of Russia, China, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Libya and others," according to a report from Reuters that cites more than a dozen current and former senior U.S. officials.
"The U.S. central bank keeps a tight lid on information contained in these accounts. But according to the officials interviewed by Reuters, U.S. authorities regularly use a 'need to know' confidentiality exception in the Fed's service contracts with foreign central banks."
The report claimed that the exception was used by U.S. federal officials "to glean information about the movement of funds in and out of the accounts." That information was then used to help the U.S. "monitor economic sanctions, fight terror financing and money laundering, or get a fuller picture of market hot spots around the world."
The Federal Reserve was established in 1913, and the current headquarters in New York houses around $3.3 trillion in assets from around 250 foreign central banks—which adds up to about half of the world's dollar reserves.
"In all, the people interviewed by Reuters identified seven instances in the last 15 years in which the accounts gave U.S. authorities insights into the actions of foreign counterparts or market movements, at times leading to a specific U.S. response."