March 3, 2024

Feds Asked Banks to Search Americans’ Records for Gun Retailers, Words Like ‘Trump’ and ‘MAGA,’ Bible Purchases

FinCEN urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression

Feds Asked Banks to Search Americans’ Records for Gun Retailers

The Treasury Department asked banks to snoop through customers’ transactions for signs of “extremism,” such as purchases of “small arms” or Bibles, according to Jordan.

The Treasury Department, on behalf of federal law enforcement after January 6, 2021, asked banks to snoop through customers’ transactions for signs of “extremism,” such as purchases of “small arms” or from gun retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shop, or Cabela’s, according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Jordan revealed the secret requests on Thursday in a letter to the former Director of the Treasury Department’s office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Noah Bishoff.

Jordan’s letter, which asked Bishoff to appear for a transcribed interview, said, “This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious doubts about FinCEN’s respect for fundamental civil liberties.”

The secret requests were found as part of Judiciary Committee and Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government oversight on federal law enforcement’s receipt of information about American citizens without legal process.

Jordan said in the letter that the Committee and Select Subcommittee obtained documents indicating that following January 6, 2021, FinCEN distributed materials to banks that outlined the “Typologies” of “various persons of interest” and provided financial institutions with suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.

Jordan said the materials included a document recommending the use of generic terms like “TRUMP” and “MAGA” to “Search Zelle payment messages,” as well as a “prior FinCEN analysis” of “Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators.”

According to the analysis, FinCEN warned financial institutions of “extremism” indicators that include “Transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets. for travel to areas with no apparent purpose,” or the purchase of books — including religious texts — and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views.

Display of religious books for sale at Walgreens store, Queens, New York. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“In other words, FinCEN urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression,” Jordan wrote.

Jordan said FinCEN also distributed slides prepared by one bank explaining how other banks could use MCCs to detect customers whose transactions may reflect “potential active shooters, [and] who may include dangerous International Terrorists / Domestic Terrorists / Homegrown Violent Extremists (‘Lone Wolves’).”

The slides instructed banks to look for transactions using certain MCC codes such as “3484: Small Arms,” “5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies,” and the keywords “Cabela’s,” and “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” among several others, he said.

The letter included a slide listing a number of gun retailers.

“Despite these transactions having no apparent criminal nexus and, in fact, relate to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights— FinCEN seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors,” he said.

In an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity Jordan called it “financial surveillance.”

“In the last year saw we’ve exposed the censorship, where you had big government, big tech, big media, big academia working to censor Americans,” Jordan said. “Now we have financial surveillance, where it’s big government working with big banks, big corporations to surveil — to spy on Americans.”

“And so it was big banks, looking and searching private transactions using key terms at the suggestion of the federal government to find out what you’re buying, what you’re spending your money on,” he added. “Scary stuff, all, it looks like, without any warrant, without any legal process.”

“It’s scary stuff. It’s financial surveillance of the American people,” he stated.

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Federal Government Flagged Transactions Using Terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP” for Financial Institutions

January 17, 2024

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New documents obtained by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government reveal that the federal government flagged terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP” for financial institutions if Americans used those phrases when completing transactions. Individuals who shopped at stores like Cabela’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods, or purchased religious texts like a bible, may also have had their transactions flagged. This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious concerns about the FBI’s respect for fundamental civil liberties.

In light of these revelations, Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has requested transcribed interviews from Peter Sullivan, Senior Private Sector Partner for Outreach in the Strategic Partner Engagement Section of the FBI, and Noah Bishoff, former Director of the Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). 

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Feds asked banks to search customer data for ‘Trump,’ ‘MAGA’ references after Capitol riot: Rep. Jim Jordan

At the request of the FBI, the country’s second-largest bank “voluntarily and without any legal process” snooped through the information of anyone making certain purchases in and around Washington before and after the riot – Jordan

Feds asked banks to search customer data for ‘TRUMP’ and ‘MAGA’ references after Capitol riot, Rep. Jim Jordan says

Feds asked financial institutions to use search terms such as “TRUMP” and “MAGA” when combing over customer data in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) revealed.

Federal investigators asked financial institutions to use search terms such as “TRUMP” and “MAGA” when combing over customer data in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) revealed Wednesday. 

The request came from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen), according to documents obtained by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. 

The panel, headed by Jordan, demanded testimony from the agency’s former Strategic Operations Division director Noah Bishoff as part of a probe into what the Ohio Republican called an “alarming” case of “pervasive financial surveillance” seemingly conducted “on the basis of protected political” speech.

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee have obtained documents indicating that following January 6, 2021, FinCEN distributed materials to financial institutions that, among other things, outline the ‘typologies’ of various persons of interest and provide financial institutions with suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement,” Jordan wrote in a letter to Bishoff.

“These materials included a document recommending the use of generic terms like ‘TRUMP’ and ‘MAGA’ to ‘search Zelle payment messages,’” he noted.

FinCen also passed along its analysis of “Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators” to financial institutions helping the government look for suspects involved in the Capitol riot, according to Jordan, which warned that “extremism” indicators include purchases such as “bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel to areas with no apparent purpose” or “the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views.”

“In other words, FinCEN urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression,” Jordan argues in the missive. 

The lawmaker also charged that FinCEN distributed slides explaining how financial institutions can flag customers who fit the profile of a “potential active shooter” or terrorists based on their transactions. 

The slides instruct financial institutions to search for terms such as “Small Arms,” “Cabela’s,” and “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” among numerous others.

“Despite these transactions having no apparent criminal nexus — and, in fact, relate to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights — FinCEN seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors,” Jordan wrote.

In a separate letter sent Wednesday, the panel chairman also asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to make a senior official in the bureau’s Strategic Partner Engagement Section available for a transcribed interview related to Bank of America’s cooperation with the FBI after Jan. 6. 

Jordan is seeking to question the FBI official, Peter Sullivan, about the bureau’s “mass accumulation and use of Americans’ private information without legal process; the FBI’s protocols, if any, to safeguard Americans’ privacy and constitutional rights in the receipt and use of such information; and the FBI’s general engagement with the private sector on law-enforcement matters.” 

At the request of the FBI, the country’s second-largest bank “voluntarily and without any legal process” snooped through the information of anyone making certain purchases in and around Washington before and after the riot, Jordan charged.

Sullivan, he said, provided Bank of America with specific search terms to look for as it looked over customer data, indicating firearm, hotel, Airbnb, or airline ticket purchases leading up to and after Jan. 6, 2021. 

Bank of America reportedly handed over the information of 211 people to the FBI, Fox News reported in February 2021. Only one of the 211 was brought in for questioning. 

None were arrested, according to the outlet’s report.

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SaltyGoat on Twitter: “Y’all see THIS?👇🏼So now the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) is having banks search for Trump, MAGA and people who shop at Cabela’s or Bass Pro to identify “Extremists”Just another installment of “This could NEVER happen in America”… pic.twitter.com/iDgnX1om1n / Twitter”

Y’all see THIS?👇🏼So now the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) is having banks search for Trump, MAGA and people who shop at Cabela’s or Bass Pro to identify “Extremists”Just another installment of “This could NEVER happen in America”… pic.twitter.com/iDgnX1om1n


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