Government May Have Tracked Your Transactions at These Common Stores – RedState

Government May Have Tracked Your Transactions at These Common Stores – RedState

The House Judiciary GOP had some troubling questions they posed on X. 

“Shop at Bass Pro Shop recently? How about Cabela’s? Bought a bible? If so, the federal government may be coming after YOU.” 

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan explained in a troubling letter to Noah Bishoff, the former Director of the Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the Treasury Department. 

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.”

They also looked at other things like “‘transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel areas with no apparent purpose” and “the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views.” 

What qualifies as “extremist views” here? As Jordan said, the government seemed to be looking into potentially protected political and religious expression. 

Jordan said the committee obtained documents showing that FinCEN distributed slides, prepared by Key Bank, to other banks to explain how they could use merchant category codes (MCC) to detect customers whose transactions may reflect “potential active shooters, and who may include dangerous International Terrorists/ Domestic Terrorists/ Homegrown Violence Extremists (‘Lone Wolves’).”

Jordan said the slide instructs financial institutions to query for transactions using certain MCC codes like “3484: Small Arms,” “5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies,” and the keywords “Cabela’s,” “Dick’s Sporting Goods” and “Bass Pro Shops,” among others.

It looks like they may have been trying to do an end run to track people who could potentially be making gun purchases, sweeping up other people who just go to these stores and buy other things up in their net. Jordan said there was no criminal nexus for any of this. The stores didn’t respond to a Fox inquiry on the matter. 

They want Bishoff to testify and explain what the heck was going on here. 

This isn’t the first time the government has been caught casting a wide net. They did something similar after January 6, 2021,  with the FBI getting information from Bank of America about any credit or debit transactions using a Bank of America in the Washington, D.C. area between January 5 and January 7, 2021 “voluntarily and without any legal process.” 

Jordan said when they checked it out there wasn’t any nexus to federal criminal conduct. Also if you had ever purchased a gun and were made a transaction in that period, you were elevated to the top of the list to be looked into. 

Read more: GOP Going After Bank of America, FBI for Troubling Violation of Americans’ Rights Related to Jan. 6

But this new information is potentially even a broader net being cast and involving far more people. 

This is pretty troubling and Jordan said they want the FBI to make the senior private sector partner for outreach in the Strategic Partner Engagement Section available for a transcribed interview by Jan. 31 to explain the FBI’s “mass accumulation and use” of Americans’ “private information without legal process.”

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