Feds May Have Used Banks to Spy on MAGA Republicans Without Warrants

(USNewsMag.com) – House Republicans are investigating 13 banks for allegedly spying on supporters of former President Donald Trump without a warrant following the Capitol attack on Jan. 6th, 2021.

The investigation, opened in January by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, focused on six banks that assisted the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) with monitoring bank records for customer transactions that featured “extremism” indicators, such as purchases from Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Cabela’s, and the terms “Trump” and “MAGA.”

When it began, the investigation focused on the collusion between the FBI and FinCEN worked with banks, including Chase, Citi Bank, Bank of America, Truist Bank, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank, to spy on Americans. Since the investigation began, seven more banks, including HSBC, Western Union, Charles Schwab, MUFG, PayPal, Standard Chartered, and Santander, have been found to have been involved.

In a letter to the banks, Committee Chairman and Ohio Rep. Republican Jim Jordan requested all communications and documents with FinCEN and the FBI be sent to the committee. In the letter, Jordan stated the committee is concerned with materials circulated by FinCEN and the extent “financial institutions continue to spy on Americans.”

According to the FBI’s former financial sector liaison, Peter Sullivan, who appeared before the weaponization committee on April 9th for a transcribed interview, federal agencies provided the banks with new thresholds for submitting a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). Bank of America sent FinCEN and the FBI a SAR that included data on 211 people on Jan. 17th, 2021, after FinCEN and the FBI requested the banks search for “extremism” indicators. Sullivan investigated the 211 people, requesting additional transaction history, including any “weapons-related transactions.” Sullivan found that only four of the 211 people met the federal thresholds for a SAR. However, then-Section Chief of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Operations Selection Steve Jensen said the four leads “lacked allegations of federal criminal conduct.”

In a separate letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Jordan said there are “serious concerns” that the federal government has respect for Americans’ privacy after “this kind of warrantless financial surveillance.”

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