Biden Officials Allegedly Used ‘MAGA’ To Surveil Bank Transactions After Jan 6

By Victor Winston, updated on February 10, 2024

In a notable revelation, President Joe Biden's administration has been scrutinized for surveilling Americans' financial transactions using politically sensitive terms.

This acknowledgment was brought to light through a letter from the Treasury Department to Senator Tim Scott, which confirmed the use of terms such as "MAGA," "Trump," and "Kamala" following the January 6 events.

The comprehensive surveillance initiative, conducted by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), started in the aftermath of the protests on January 6, 2021. It was designed to monitor domestic financial transactions for signs of what it classified as "exchange events." Notably, the operation honed in on a range of politically charged keywords.

Fox News unveiled this situation through a document sent from the Treasury Department to Senator Tim Scott, hinting at the extent of the surveillance. Acting Assistant Secretary Corey Tellez was the letter's signatory, which was a direct response to an earlier inquiry from Sen. Scott to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

A Controversial Use of Government Surveillance

Senator Scott, serving as the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, expressed vehement opposition to this strategy. He argued that it represented a "flagrant violation of Americans' privacy" and was alarmingly targeted at U.S. citizens for their political beliefs or activities without providing due process.

A report from the House Judiciary Committee shone further light on the situation. It illustrated how Bank of America had willingly shared customer transaction data with the FBI post-January 6. This cooperation between a major financial institution and federal law enforcement raised eyebrows and ignited concerns over the extent of surveillance Americans were subjected to.

In the wake of President Biden's pointed comparison of former President Donald Trump to Nazi figures in a speech on January 8, 2021, there was a noteworthy fundraising totaling $1 million. This period marked a heightened focus on perceived threats of extremism and prompted federal entities to seek cooperation from banking institutions.

Financial Transactions Under the Microscope

The Treasury Department specifically asked banks to watch for warning signs indicative of "extremism." These signs included purchases of small arms or transactions with major sporting goods stores that also sell firearms. This broad and somewhat vague criterion for surveillance underlines the complex challenge of balancing national security with the civil liberties of American citizens.

Senator Scott’s letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen voiced these concerns. In his correspondence, he demanded clarifications regarding the extent and rationale behind the financial surveillance of American citizens post-January 6.

According to the letter from Acting Assistant Secretary Corey Tellez, the surveillance covered "included terms such as ‘antifa,’ ‘MAGA,’ ‘Trump,’ ‘Biden,’ ‘Kamala,’ ‘Schumer,’ and ‘Pelosi.’" This disclosure highlights the wide net cast by the Treasury Department in its scrutiny of financial transactions following a period of significant political unrest.

Critics argue that such methods could potentially infringe on individuals' rights to privacy and free speech. The revelation of these practices has ignited a debate regarding the balance between ensuring national security and upholding fundamental civil liberties.

To recap

The Biden administration is under scrutiny for surveilling Americans' financial transactions using politically sensitive terms like "MAGA," "Trump," and "Kamala" following January 6, 2021. This surveillance, conducted by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), aimed to monitor domestic transactions for signs of what it deemed "exchange events," focusing on a range of politically charged keywords.

Senator Tim Scott criticized the initiative as a "flagrant violation of Americans' privacy," targeting citizens for their political beliefs without due process. The controversy extends to cooperation between financial institutions and federal law enforcement, with Bank of America sharing customer data with the FBI, raising concerns over privacy and the extent of surveillance.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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