House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) revealed these shocking details in a letter requesting an interview with 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).
"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," 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.’"
“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,” Jordan’s letter continued.
The Weaponization Committee also discovered that FinCEN distributed slides prepared by KeyBank, a regional bank based in Cleveland, Ohio, that explained how banks could use certain merchant category codes (MCCs) and keywords to potentially detect mass shooters, domestic terrorists, and homegrown violent extremists. Those keywords include gun manufacturers, but also sporting goods stores like “Cabela’s,” “Bass Pro Shops,” “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” and “Gander Mountain."
“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,” Jordan wrote before explaining to Bishop that he would be called in to testify before Congress.
“Your testimony will help to inform the Committee and Select Subcommittee about federal law enforcement's mass accumulation and use of Americans' private information without legal process; FinCEN's protocols, if any, to safeguard Americans' privacy and constitutional rights in the receipt and use of such information; and FinCEN's general engagement with the private sector on law-enforcement matters,” Jordan wrote.