The Treasury Department has finally confirmed that the federal government had banks surveil financial transactions for allegedly incendiary terms like “MAGA” and “Trump” after the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The late confirmation was provided in a letter by Office of Legislative Affairs acting assistant secretary Corey Tellez sent Friday to Senate Banking Committee ranking member Tim Scott.
“[A] document distributed on January 15, 2021 suggested that banks could review payment messages for indications that an individual participated in the assault on the Capitol and included terms such as ‘antifa,’ ‘MAGA,’ ‘Trump,’ ‘Biden,’ ‘Kamala,’ ‘Schumer,’ and ‘Pelosi,’ along with terms indicating an intent to do violence, such as ‘shoot,’ ‘kill,’ ‘murder’ and ‘storm the Capitol,'” the letter reads, according to Fox News.
“We understand that FinCEN convened these Exchange events starting under the prior Administration and continuing until approximately mid-February 2021. During this time period, law enforcement was actively investigating the January 6 Capitol attack and was also concerned about efforts to disrupt or threaten the upcoming presidential Inauguration. FinCEN’s primary role through these Exchange events was to support law enforcement efforts,” the letter continues.
#BREAKING: Federal Government Flagged Transactions Using Terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP” for Financial Institutions
Individuals who shopped at stores like Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or purchased religious texts like a bible, may also have had their transactions flagged. pic.twitter.com/zOJzfljuAG
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) January 17, 2024
And so under former President Donald Trump, FinCEN began directing banks to monitor transactions for any signs of alleged “MAGA” madness. This then continued under President Joe Biden for at least half a month.
To be clear, all of this was already essentially previously known. It’s just only now that the federal government has fessed up to it.
“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,” the House Judiciary Committee revealed last month.
“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,” the committee added.
But it gets worse. As previously reported, banks were also handing over information to the FBI. Indeed, in 2021 then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson uncovered evidence that Bank of America had handed over to the FBI information on everybody who was in the D.C. region around the time of the Jan. 6th riot.
“’Tucker Carlson Tonight’ has exclusively obtained evidence that Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the country with more than 60 million customers, is actively but secretly engaged in the hunt for extremists in cooperation with the government. Bank of America is, without the knowledge or the consent of its customers, sharing private information with federal law enforcement agencies. Bank of America effectively is acting as an intelligence agency, but they’re not telling you about it,” Carlson said at the time.
“In the days after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Bank of America went through its own customers’ financial and transaction records. These were the private records of Americans who had committed no crime; people who, as far as we know, had absolutely nothing to do with what happened at the Capitol. But at the request of federal investigators, Bank of America searched its databases looking for people who fit a specific profile.”
What sort of profile?
1. “Customers confirmed as transacting, either through bank account debit card or credit card purchases in Washington, D.C. between 1/5 and 1/6.”
2. “Purchases made for Hotel/Airbnb RSVPs in DC, VA, and MD after 1/6.”
3. “Any purchase of weapons or at a weapons-related merchant between 1/7 and their upcoming suspected stay in D.C. area around Inauguration Day.”
4. “Airline related purchases since 1/6.”
“Bank of America identified a total of 211 customers who met these ‘thresholds of interest.’ At that point … Bank of America turned over the results of its internal scan to federal authorities, apparently without notifying the customers who were being spied upon. Federal investigators then interviewed at least one of these unsuspecting people. That person, we’ve learned, hadn’t done anything wrong and was cleared,” Carlson continued.
“Imagine if you were that person. The FBI hauls you in for questioning in a terror investigation, not because you’ve done anything suspicious, but because you bought plane tickets and visited your country’s capital. Now they’re sweating you because your bank, which you trust with your most private information, has ratted you out without your knowledge. Because Bank of America did that, you are being treated like a member of Al Qaeda,” he added.
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