- Federal investigators from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have instructed banks to comb through their records to look for “extremists.”
- A letter from the Treasury Department was sent to Sen. Tim Scott on Friday, stating that the “exchange event” began “soon after January 6.”
- The government was ‘surveilling’ Trump supporters, Americans going to Cabela’s and Dick’s sporting goods stores, and Americans buying religious books.
The Biden administration has acknowledged that it was monitoring Americans’ personal financial transactions that included words such as “MAGA,” “Trump,” and “Kamala” after the January 6 riot.
Federal agents with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) directed banks to comb their records to look for “extremists.”
A letter from the Treasury Department seen by Fox News, sent to Sen. Tim Scott on Friday, states that the “exchange event” began “soon after January 6 under the previous administration.”
They included terms such as “Antifa,” “MAGA,” “Trump,” “Biden,” “Kamala,” “Schumer” and “Pelosi.”
The federal government was particularly “surveilling” Trump supporters, Americans who frequented outdoor stores like Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shops, and people who bought religious books like the Bible. People were buying it.
The Treasury Department’s letter marks the first time the Biden administration has confirmed the use of keywords that investigators were searching for regarding the Jan. 6 riot.
It was signed by Acting Assistant Secretary of State Cory Telles and was in response to a letter sent by Scott, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding answers.
Scott argued that the surveillance “represents a gross violation of American privacy and unfair targeting of American citizens exercising their constitutional rights without due process.”
The Republican politician previously announced the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which would allow the FinCEN Exchange program to share data between law enforcement and financial institutions, with the aim of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. He had voted in favor of the law.
FinCEN provided the materials to banks, offering them to search and filter private financial records using keywords and search terms.
The move was to help law enforcement identify persons of interest after the January 6 riot ahead of Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021.
The search was discovered during an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on the Arming of the Federal Government.
They said FinCEN told financial institutions that “indicators of extremism” could be “purchases of books (including religious texts)” such as the Bible, and subscriptions to certain media “containing extremist views.” I found a document showing that there was a warning.
A report released in January by Attorney General Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said the terms “MAGA” and “Trump” were also suggested by the department to be searched for Zelle payments.
“Did you shop at Bass Pro Shops yesterday or buy a Bible? If so, the federal government may be monitoring you,” Jordan posted on X at the time.
“We now know that the federal government has notified financial institutions of terms such as ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP’ when Americans complete transactions using these terms,” he said in another post.
“What flagged me again?” If you purchased a religious document, such as a Bible, or if you shopped at Bass Pro Shops.
The document also says authorities warned banks about signs of “extremism,” such as the purchase of bus or plane tickets “for travel to areas with no clear purpose,” or the purchase of religious texts such as Bibles. did.
Subscriptions to media outlets that include “extremist” views are also an indicator that can help guide financial instructions, according to documents provided to banks by the Ministry of Finance.
The report sparked a wave of backlash against the Biden administration from Republican lawmakers demanding answers about the government’s spying tactics.
Additionally, during Thursday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing, Republican Sen. Scott scolded the Treasury Secretary for directing Treasury oversight.
“FinCEN was created to stop money laundering, not to spy on American citizens,” he said. “It was not politically motivated.”