CV NEWS FEED // An agency of the federal government “flagged” Bible purchases as an indication of “extremism” in communications with banks following the events of January 6, 2021.
“We now know the federal government flagged terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP,’ to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-OH, wrote on X. “What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop.”
Jordan serves as the chairman of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
He detailed the Committee and Select Subcommittee’s findings in a January 17 letter to former Director of the Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Noah Bishoff.
“[F]ollowing January 6, 2021, FinCEN distributed materials to financial institutions that … outline the ‘typologies’ of various persons of interest and provide financial institutions with suggested search terms … for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement,” Jordan wrote:
These materials included a document recommending the use of generic terms like ‘TRUMP’ and ‘MAGA’ to ‘search Zelle payment messages’ as well as a ‘prior FinCEN analysis’ of ‘Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators.’
“FinCEN warned financial institutions of ‘extremism’ indicators that include … ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,’” Jordan continued.
His letter went on to note that the government had also instructed banks to monitor purchases of firearms as well as “Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies.”
“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 continued.
“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 civil liberties,” he concluded.
FinCEN is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Former Army Green Beret Jim Hanson described the agency’s move as “one of the most egregious violations of our Constitution I can ever recall.”
“The federal government is enlisting financial institutions” to “spy on citizens with the sole justification” that they “are political opponents,” he added.
“This is dangerous and cannot stand,” wrote American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) Action President Jordan Sekulow. He noted that his organization had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request “against this targeting of Christians.”