Over a dozen banks, major companies added to probe of Biden admin spying on Trump supporters

In addition to the six we already know about, Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government are investigating seven additional financial firms for allegedly colluding with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the FBI to spy on Americans’ private banking transactions without bothering to get a warrant.

As BizPac Review reported, a March committee report revealed that federal law enforcement organized Zoom discussions with institutions that included U.S. Bank, Paypal, Wells Fargo, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and more as part of investigations into Jan. 6.

The Feds operated a “portal” where it shared guidance instructing financial institutions to identify “domestic violent extremists,” which included searching for customer transactions including keywords such as “MAGA” and “Trump,” as well as purchases for items like “religious texts,” according to the report.

In a Thursday “exclusive,” DailyMail.com, now reports that “Charles Schwab, HSBC, MUFG, PayPal, Santander, Standard Chartered and Western Union have all been asked to turn over documents and communications with FinCEN and the FBI to the committee,” according to letters obtained by the outlet.

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee remain concerned about how and to what extent federal law enforcement and financial institutions continue to spy on Americans by weaponizing backdoor information sharing and casting sprawling classes of transactions, purchase behavior, and protected political or religious expression as potentially ‘suspicious’ or indicative of ‘extremism,'” committee chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote the institutions.

“Documents obtained by the Committee and Select Subcommittee show that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) circulated concerning materials” to each of the seven additional firms, Jordan wrote.

 

DailyMail.com also obtained a letter from Jordan to Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen.

“This kind of warrantless financial surveillance raises serious concerns about the federal government’s respect for Americans’ privacy and fundamental civil liberties,” the lawmaker wrote.

DailyMail.com reports:

According to investigators, FinCEN and the FBI received data on 211 individuals from the Bank of America in a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on January 17, 2021.

But the SAR was only sent after the FBI and FinCEN asked U.S. banks to scour customer transactions for key terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ to identify ‘extremism’ in a memo distributed in the aftermath of January 6.

The federal agencies provided the financial institutions ‘thresholds’ for which an SAR should be raise, according to Peter Sullivan, the FBI’s former financial sector liaison.

He sat for a transcribed interview with the weaponization committee on April 9.

According to the ‘threshold’ set by the FBI and FinCEN, Bank of America then sent the data of the 211 individuals.

 

“Given this coordination, the Committee and Select Subcommittee are concerned that the federal government, through the FBI and FinCEN, sent similar or identical thresholds to other financial institutions that manipulated the SAR filing process to elicit the information and transaction history of individuals without any allegation of federal criminal conduct,” Jordan told Yellen in his letter.

“After Bank of America sent over the list of 211 customers’ whose transactions met the federal ‘thresholds,’ Sullivan requested additional transaction history,” DailyMail.com reports. “He asked that Bank of America send over any ‘weapons-related transactions.'”

Out of the 211 on the list, four BofA were identified, prompting “criminal background queries” into each of them.

“Later, four federal agents were deployed to three FBI field offices to investigate those individuals,” DailyMail.com reports. “After the investigations were complete, the FBI uploaded their findings to a portal and sent out ‘a number of leads’ on additional persons of interest.”

“But, according to the then-Section Chief of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Operations Selection Steve Jensen, the leads were pulled because they ‘lacked allegations of federal criminal conduct,'” the outlet continues. “Meaning, though these individuals met ‘thresholds’ set by the FBI and FinCEN, they were not actually being investigated for an alleged crime.”

“Given this coordination,” Jordan wrote Yellen, “the Committee and Select Subcommittee are concerned that the federal government, through the FBI and FinCEN, sent similar or identical thresholds to other financial institutions that manipulated the SAR filing process to elicit the information and transaction history of individuals without any allegation of federal criminal conduct.”

Melissa Fine

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