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Outrage as Fed caught asking banks to flag financial transactions containing terms like “MAGA” and “Trump”
By Cassie B. // Jan 18, 2024

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is demanding answers after it was revealed that federal investigators instructed financial institutions to search for terms such as “MAGA” and “Trump” when looking through customer data following the Capitol riots of January 6, 2021.

Jordan, in his capacity as the chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, is investigating why the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) asked banks to conduct this type of search. He is demanding testimony from the former director of FinCen’s Strategic Operations Division, Noah Bishoff, as part of their probe into what he termed an “alarming” case of “pervasive financial surveillance” that appears to have been performed “on the basis of protected political speech.”

In a letter to Bishoff, Jordan explained: “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.”

He added that they were told to search payment messages in the app Zelle for terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP.”

Religious text purchases also considered a flag for potential Jan. 6 participation

FinCen also appeared to be using people’s religious beliefs against them. In their analysis of “Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators” released to banks to help them identify Capitol riot suspects, they listed “the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,” along with travel-related purchases that did not have an “apparent purpose,” including rental cars and plane and bus tickets.

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Jordan said: “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.”

Other terms they were told to search for included “small arms” and sporting goods stores like Cabela’s and Dick’s. Pawn shops, specialty retailers and other sporting good providers were also singled out.

Bank of America helped FBI identify people who may have been connected to events of J6

Jordan also sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an interview with a senior official from their Strategic Partner Engagement Section, Peter Sullivan, to find out more about cooperation between the agency and the nation’s second-biggest bank, Bank of America, in the aftermath of January 6.

He intends to inquire about the FBI's engagement with the private sector in matters related to law enforcement as well as their “mass accumulation and use of Americans’ private information without legal process” and any protocols used by the FBI to protect “Americans’ privacy and constitutional rights in the receipt and use of such information.”

According to Jordan, the bank looked through the information of customers who made certain types of purchases in the Washington, D.C. area in the days surrounding January 6. He said that Sullivan gave a list of terms to Bank of America to search for, many of which were related to hotels, firearms, airline tickets and Airbnb purchases. In response to this request, Bank of America supplied the FBI with 211 customers' information. However, only one is said to have been brought in for questioning and no one was arrested.

Jordan has asked that both interviews be scheduled by January 31 so the subcommittee can proceed with its investigation.

America is meant to be the land of the free, but apparently buying religious books and sporting goods is enough to get you flagged by the Biden administration as a potential threat.

Sources for this article include:



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