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Regulator Forced Financial Industry to Spy on Americans – HotAir

Do you shop at Cabela’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods?

Have you ever bought anything with MAGA on it or from anybody whose business includes the term?

Are you a hunter or a sports shooter?

If so, you will be happy to know that the federal government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network tasked financial institutions to spy on you and send your purchase and travel history to the feds.

This was, of course, entirely warrantless. No legal process at all–and why should there be one? After all, you are a domestic terrorist if you support Donald Trump or like sporting goods.

You are deplorable for sure.

The letter from Jim Jordan to Noah Bishoff, who used to run the program, is pretty damning. The text is below, from which I will excerpt some relevant material.

Jordan is requesting a transcribed interview to cover the matter, which is arguably among the worst examples out of many of the government illegally spying on US citizens without any justification–based solely on the speculation that they hold views that officials in the government don’t approve of.

The Committee and Select Subcommittee have obtained documents indicating that following January 6, 2021, 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.’ 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.” According to this analysis, FinCEN warned financial institutions of “extremism” indicators that include “transportation charges, 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.

Please, regulated industry over which I have the power of life and death, comb through the trillions of transactions of citizens who fit a “type” to dig up information for me.

Fourth Amendment, anyone? Remember that one?

Not that something as niggling as the fundamental law of the land should stop the government from going after Trump supporters, or hikers for that matter.

Or people who buy bibles. Remember, Catholics are extremists because they defend babies in the womb.

They could be dangerous. If you think about it, anybody could be dangerous, so why not send along information on everybody who hasn’t registered to vote as a Democrat?


Exercising your Second Amendment rights was of particular interest to the government, which is why they wanted to monitor anybody who purchased from a sporting goods company. Perhaps you were buying waders or sneakers, but you could be buying ammo and thus deserve to be spied on by the government.

Think about how many people own guns in America–a number growing by the day. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network was monitoring them.

In addition, the Committee and Select Subcommittee have obtained documents showing that FinCEN distributed slides, prepared by a financial institution, explaining how other financial institutions can use MCC codes to detect customers whose transactions may reflect “potential active shooters, [and] who may include dangerous International Terrorists / Domestic Terrorists / Homegrown Violent Extremists (‘Lone Wolves’).”* For example, the slides instruct financial institutions to query for transactions using certain MCC codes such as “3484: Small Arms,”

“5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies,” and the keywords “Cabela’s,” and “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” among several others.’ 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.

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.

Fourth Amendment anyone?

FOURTH AMENDMENT!!! This is so grotesquely unconstitutional that…oh, hell, I was going to say I was shocked and amazed, but I am actually neither.

Our government is run by totalitarians who wish they were Chinese bureaucrats who could ban anybody from society whenever they want.

It will be interesting to see how the MSM covers this. I expect they will ignore it because, well, it was revealed by Jim Jordan and was aimed at Republicans.

Why let the Constitutional order get in the way of defending democracy?

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