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Banking on Surveillance: Republicans Investigate Major Banks’ Warrantless Data Sharing with Federal Agencies

Congressional inquiry into banks’ role in warrantless data surveillance following January 6 raises alarm over potential civil liberties violations and improper government collaboration.

Congressional Republicans are further investigating claims that at least 13 major US banks collaborated with federal agencies to monitor private transactions for signs of “extremism” following the January 6 Capitol events. The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, led by Republican Jim Jordan from Ohio, is delving further into the alleged cooperation between these financial institutions and federal agencies without proper warrants.

These banks, including Bank of America, Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank, and more, are among those scrutinized for their roles in the reported surveillance. We previously reported about how Bank of America was found to be handing over data of everyone in the area during the events of January 6, whether they were suspect or not – and whether they had a warrant or not. But now, investigations suggest that the transfer of data was more systematic, potentially involving multiple financial institutions and the Biden administration itself.

Read an example of the letter sent to a bank here.

Already-uncovered information suggests that the Biden administration worked with banks to identify potential “extremism” by monitoring certain purchases such as religious texts like the Bible, or by flagging searches that included terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP.”

According to the House Judiciary Committee, the probe has now expanded to include additional financial firms: Charles Schwab, HSBC, MUFG, PayPal, Santander, Standard Chartered, and Western Union. Letters sent to these institutions by the committee request documentation and communications with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) and the FBI to further investigate potential warrantless surveillance.

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