The Biden Administration has admitted to surveilling the private financial transactions of Americans for words including ‘MAGA’, ‘Trump’ and ‘Kamala’ following the January 6 riots.
Federal investigators in the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) instructed banks to comb through records to look for ‘extremists’.
It said it ‘included terms such as “antifa,” “MAGA,” “Trump,” “Biden,” “Kamala,” “Schumer,” and “Pelosi.”‘
The federal government was specifically ‘watching’ Trump supporters and Americans who frequent outdoor stores such as Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops, and also those who purchased religious texts, such as a Bible.
The Biden Administration has admitted to surveilling the private financial transactions of Americans for words including ‘MAGA’, ‘Trump’ and ‘Kamala’ following the January 6 riots
Federal investigators in the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) instructed banks to comb through records to look for ‘extremists’
The federal government was specifically ‘watching’ Trump supporters and Americans who frequent outdoor stores such as Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops, and also those who purchased religious texts, such as a Bible
The Treasury Department letter signifies the first time the Biden Administration has confirmed the use of keywords being searched for by investigators over the January 6 riot.
It was signed by Acting Assistant Secretary Corey Tellez and was in response to a letter sent by Scott, who is on the Senate Banking Committee, to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding answers.
Scott claimed the surveillance ‘represents a flagrant violation of Americans’ privacy and the improper targeting of U.S. citizens for exercising their constitutional rights without due process.’
The Republican politician had previously voted for the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which allowed the FinCEN Exchange program to share data between law enforcement and financial institutions in a bid to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.
FinCEN handed materials to banks which suggested they search and filter private finance records using keywords and search terms.
This was to help law enforcement find people of interest ahead of Biden’s January 20 2021 inauguration and after the January 6 riots.
The searches were found during a House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government investigation.
They discovered documents which showed FinCEN warned financial institutions that an ‘extremism indicator’ could be ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts),” like the Bible, and subscriptions to certain media “containing extremist views’.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers she would investigate why the department sent instructions to banks on how to search Americans’ transaction records
A letter from the Treasury Department, seen by Fox News , was sent to Senator Tim Scott on Friday which states ‘Exchange events’ began ‘shortly after January 6 under the prior Administration’
According to the report released by Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in January, the terms ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ were also suggested by the department to be searched in Zelle payments.
‘Did you shop at Bass Pro Shop yesterday or purchase a Bible? If so, the federal government may be watching you,’ Jordan posted on X at the time.
‘We now know the federal government flagged terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP,’ to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms,’ he wrote in another post.
‘What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop.’
Further, officials warned banks of ‘extremism’ indicators like the purchase of a bus or plane ticket ‘for travel to areas with no apparent purpose’ or the purchase of a religious text, like a Bible, according to documents.
Subscriptions to news outlets containing ‘extremist’ views would also be an indicator for financial instructions to look at, according to the material the Treasury provided to banks.
The report sparked a flurry of backlash at the Biden administration from Republicans demanding answers about the government’s spy tactics.
Additionally, during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Thursday, Republican Senator Scott chided the Treasury secretary over the department’s surveillance instructions.
‘FinCEN was created to stop money laundering and not to spy on Americans,’ he said. ‘It was not created for political motivations.’