Feds asked banks to snoop on customers, flag terms like ‘MAGA,’ ‘Trump,’ ‘Bible’ and more

After the Jan. 6th riot, federal investigators asked banks to search their customer data for terms like “Trump” and “MAGA,” according to Rep. Jim Jordan.

Documents obtained by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which Jordan chairs, show that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) filed the request.

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“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,” Jordan wrote in a letter to FinCen official Noah Bishoff.

These materials included a document recommending the use of generic terms like ‘TRUMP’ and ‘MAGA’ to ‘search Zelle payment messages,'” he continued.

Zelle is a network that banks use to allow customers to send payments to other people with an eligible bank account. When submitting a payment, users have the option of leaving a message for the recipient.

(Source: Wells Fargo)

According to Jordan, FinCen also informed banks of certain “Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators” to look out for among its customer base.

One of the “extremism” indicators listed was purchases such as “bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel to areas with no apparent purpose” or “the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views.”

“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,” Jordan wrote in his letter to Bishoff.

FinCEN reportedly also gave banks slides containing the signs of a “potential active shooter” or terrorist. These signs included terms such as “Small Arms,” “Cabela’s,” “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” and “Bass ProShops.”

Did the purchase of hats like these trigger a FinCEN search? Creepy violation of our 4th amendment rights! Also, comical considering how many teenagers they would have been tracking. pic.twitter.com/eXEjDOwUHh — Eric Burlison (@EricBurlison) January 18, 2024

“Despite these transactions having no apparent criminal nexus — and, in fact, relate to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights — FinCEN seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors,” Jordan wrote in his letter.

“This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious doubts about FinCEN’s respect for fundamental liberties,” he added.

We now know the federal government flagged terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP,” to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms. What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop. pic.twitter.com/jjRaVNItWz — Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 17, 2024

Read more: pic.twitter.com/ZT47BpW0bc — Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 17, 2024

In a separate letter sent Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan asked him to make available for interview a senior official from the bureau’s Strategic Partner Engagement Section who had worked toward securing Bank of America’s cooperation.

At the behest of the official, Peter Sullivan, Bank of America “voluntarily and without any legal process” snooped through the customer data of anyone who bought firearms, hotel/Airbnb reservations, or airplane tickets in and around Washington, D.C., both before and after the Jan. 6th riot.

These specifications led the bank to producing a list of 211 people. Of the 211, one was eventually questioned by the FBI, but none were ever arrested.

Jordan now wants to question Sullivan about the FBI’s “mass accumulation and use of Americans’ private information without legal process; the FBI’s protocols, if any, to safeguard Americans’ privacy and constitutional rights in the receipt and use of such information; and the FBI’s general engagement with the private sector on law-enforcement matters.”

Responding to all this on the social media platform X, many Americans were quick to express disbelief and outrage.


Wannabe dictator Biden setting up his own ministry of truth and preparing to find and disappear the dissidents. — Raymond P Mucha (@rpmucha23) January 17, 2024

This is SO Egregious, it Borders on Tyranny. This is blatant violation of the 1st AND 4th Amendments. — Galactic Emperor Elect – Randy (@KiltedRef) January 17, 2024

So I suppose those of us who have purchased on sale Bibles in bulk to give to others in need now are on there watch list especially if there are hunters in the home ?? — Evalena (@evalena72) January 17, 2024

I find it very telling that they consider a Bible to be on par with a weapon. I suppose for them God’s word is dangerous. They might do well to ask themselves why that is the case, — Celtus Maximus (@CeltusMaximus) January 17, 2024

So…if I just so happened to go to Dick,s and buy a kayak or maybe ordered a new children’s Bible for my child, then I could be labeled a domestic extremist/terrorist? I don’t think people fully realize where we are as a nation. — SIMPLY AMERICAN (@KyBoy1847) January 17, 2024