Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Of Hurricanes, Money Laundering, and Complacency

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Of Hurricanes, Money Laundering, and Complacency

Article excerpt

Sometimes the best-intentioned Washington actions can cause unexpected reactions.

Case in point was the way William Langford, senior advisor to the general counsel at the Treasury Department, opened his speech at the recent Money Laundering Enforcement Seminar, sponsored by ABA and the American Bar Association.

Langford told how, right after 9/11, he and his wife set family disaster policy. They'd maintained a stocked "go bag" and planned an escape route. The gas tank would never fall below half-full. Ah, good intentions ...

When Hurricane Isabel hit the region this fall, Langford said, the family lost electricity for a week.

"It was at that point that I found that my emergency preparedness kit had dwindled to a few bottles of water, some cans of soup, and some AAA batteries that don't fit a single flashlight that we own," said Langford. He had one more confession. That very morning, his gas tank warning lit up.

The Treasury official used his personal example to illustrate that, to him, complacency is the most significant risk that banks and the government face on the anti-terrorism front.

"Steadily but surely a sense of security is coming back into our lives" since 9/11, said Langford. …

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