FBI caught spying on Americans who shop at Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shop: Report

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Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman, House Judiciary Committee

Do you shop at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, or Dick’s Sporting Goods? Your bank may be passing your purchase information to the federal government, especially if it can link you to support for Donald Trump or the term “MAGA.”

Many banks are surveilling their account holders, not because of criminal records or conduct, but because of their core political and religious expression, the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee said in a new report. The banks are alerting themselves to specific terms and transaction, sometimes involving the purchase of firearms.

Last year, the Committee and Select Subcommittee received testimony from retired Federal Bureau of Investigation Supervisory Intelligence Analyst George Hill. Hill testified that, following the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Bank of America , voluntarily and without legal process, provided the FBI with a list of names of all individuals who used a BoA credit or debit card in the Washington, D.C. region between the dates of Jan. 5-7, 2021.

Further, Hill testified that this Bank of America “data dump” of customer information included a list of individuals who had ever used a BoA credit or debit card to purchase a firearm, regardless of when or where it was purchased.

That would include anyone who has an Alaska Airlines Visa credit card, which is associated with Bank of America and is carried by many Alaskans.

“The Bank of America, with no directive from the FBI, data-mined its customer base. And they data-mined a date range of 5 to 7 January [of 2021] any BOA customer who used a BOA product. And by ‘BOA product,’ I mean a debit card or a credit card. They compiled that list. And then, on top of that list, they put anyone who had purchased a firearm during any date. So it was a huge list …,” Hill told the committee.

Many Alaskans reading this article may fall into the dragnet. In fact, the author may, as well.

Hill’s testimony was confirmed by former senior FBI official Joseph Bonavolonta.

The Committee and Select Subcommittee has since requested documents from Bank of America and six other national financial institutions about the provision of Americans’ private financial information to federal law enforcement without legal process.

In the months since that request, the Committee and Select Subcommittee’s oversight has uncovered ben more of law enforcement’s access to private financial records of U.S. citizens.

The documents show that following the events of Jan. 6, 2021, federal law enforcement officials from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the FBI initiated multiple discussions with financial institutions. 

These meetings included some of the largest financial institutions in the United States, including Barclays, U.S. Bank, Charles Schwab, HSBC, Bank of America, Paypal, KeyBank, Standard Chartered, Western Union, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Santander, JPMorgan Chase, and MUFG.

The meetings were geared toward discussing options for financial institutions to share customer information voluntarily with federal law enforcement outside of normal legal processes.

Committee documents shows how law enforcement and private institutions shared intelligence products in the aftermath of January 6 through a web portal run by the Domestic Security Alliance Council. The DSAC is a public-private partnership led by the FBI’s Office of Private Sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

The DSAC promotes the “exchange of security and intelligence information” between the federal government and its 650 “member” companies, which represent about two-thirds of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and 35 million employees.

Following Jan. 6, the FBI shared an intelligence product titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Likely Emboldened in Aftermath of Capitol Breach,” prepared by the FBI, DHS, and the National Counterterrorism Center, with financial institutions to alert them to individuals that may fit the profile of criminal and domestic violent extremists.

This FBI intelligence product, along with other materials shared by federal law enforcement, detail the extent to which federal law enforcement derisively viewed American citizens.

One report shared with financial institutions noted that those Americans who expressed opposition to firearm regulations, open borders, Covid-19 lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and the “deep state” may be potential domestic terrorists.

Federal law enforcement used the report and materials like it to commandeer financial institutions’ databases and ask the financial institutions to conduct sweeping searches of individuals not suspected of committing any crimes.

For example, the committee said, federal law enforcement suggested that banks filter Zelle payments using keywords like “MAGA” and “TRUMP” as part of an ostensible investigation into the events on Jan. 6, 2021, and also warned that “the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,” could be evidence of “Homegrown Violent Extremism.”

FinCEN also distributed materials to financial institutions instructing them on how to use Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) to search through transactions to detect potential criminals or “extremists.” These MCCs use keywords to comb through transactions, such as “small arms” purchases or recreational stores such as “Cabela’s,” “Bass Pro Shop,” and “Dick’s Sporting Goods.” 

Americans doing nothing other than shopping or exercising their Second Amendment rights were being tracked by financial institutions and federal law enforcement, said the committee report.

Despite the transactions having no criminal nexus, FinCEN seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors and subject to surveillance.

Without the FBI whistleblowers’ disclosures to the Committee and Select Subcommittee, these documents would not have come to light, the committee report said.

“While it is alarming enough that federal law enforcement and Bank of America used January 6, 2021, as a pretext for surveilling potentially thousands of Americans without a warrant, the documents received by the Committee and Select Subcommittee show a pattern of financial surveillance aimed at millions of Americans who hold conservative viewpoints or simply exercise their Second Amendment rights. This raises serious concerns and doubts about federal law enforcement’s and financial institutions’ commitment to respecting Americans’ privacy rights and fundamental civil liberties,” the report stated.

The complete report can be read at this link.

On Wednesday, May 15, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government will hold a hearing on at 10  a.m. on the use of lawfare tactics to weaponize the rule of law. Witnesses include:

  • Robert Costello, Partner, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron
  • James Trusty, Former Federal Prosecutor
  • Gene Hamilton, Executive Director, America First Legal

The hearing can be watched at this link:

46 COMMENTS

  1. You know when Jim Jordan is involved it will be about smoke and mirrors as he is trying to cover something else up. Ohio you can do better.

      • > Why does freedom scare you?

        The presumed collective gives them comfort. Liberty is an anathema to them.

        Mostly they just hate humanity and especially human thriving.

  2. If memory serves Senator Sullivan just (again) voted to maintain the FISA warrantless searches by our alphabet soup intelligence and police state agencies on all Americans in our country. It’s a “national security” necessity, to protect our “constitutional republic”. Spending an additional $61 billion in printed money on the public’s IOU $30 trillion+ tab for the Ukraine and Taiwan money laundering schemes is also “national security”.
    Our borders, nya, they are just fine being open and continue spending billions to the NGOs paying their transport costs. Getting harder to distinguish the alleged “conservative” GOP from their Democrat partners.

  3. I thought Dick’s was woke. They still sell guns?
    So let’s all use our Bank of America cards to subscribe to MRAK and really drive them crazy.
    Here’s a report for ya- “Domestic Violent Extremists Likely Emboldened in Aftermath of Revelations of Misuse of Citizen’s Financial Information”.

  4. Hmmm(?!?!?!) …
    Any comment from the fine folks @ 6th & A Street ???
    Any comment from any of ‘The Magnificient-3’ (ie: our Fed Reps) ???

  5. They will be very bored looking at the dick’s customer lists for firearms purchases.. Since they’re not selling many there anymore!!

  6. The overwhelming majority of Americans would support a law restricting financial institutions from spying on their customers on behalf of the federal government. The overwhelming majority of members of Congress, on the other hand, would not – including many establishment Republicans. We will therefore never see these abuses curtailed without a constitutional amendment, but since it’s almost impossible to propose an amendment without Congress’ consent (see above) we’re pretty much in a Catch-22.

    • Pfffffftt…………..They don’t follow the constitutional amendments we already have. What makes you think they would respect one more?

  7. Legal firearms purchases are now being treated like weapons for crime. We are getting to be a very sick society.

    • Yes, but many blue states don’t prosecute for real crimes anymore. Instead they go after NDAs and bookkeeping misdemeanors as major crimes.

  8. If you still have a BofA credit card you should have dumped it years ago. In addition to BofA and WellsFargo) being horrific partners, that mileage card is a rip off of the highest order.

  9. Answer is simple BOYCOTT. If a very large percentage of people who shopped at one of these stores all boycotted the entire store system, they’d get the message and would not cooperate with the credit companies who are pulling this stunt. I am assuming, of course, that anyone purchasing at these stores has already cut up the credit card(s) of the offending banks.

    • The stores are not the problem. They accept any card with the Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover… whatever logo on it. Some banks do not freely hand over their customer’s information, others do. The particular store has nothing to do with that transaction.

  10. You know how you avoid being tracked? Use cash. Yes, crisp Benjamins to make any purchases that you don’t want traced. This is why eliminating cash and going digital is a government’s wet dream. That’s why we must fight to keep our cash alive.

    • Cash remains King. The inconvenience to avoid being tracked is you need to get get rid of your cell phone, (turning off power does not impede location information), land line, any email accounts, all social media of course and any vehicle new enough to have a tracking device. And never communicate directly with anyone that has these electronic conveniences. We are living in the ultimate police state. Complete electronic surveillance. Google and Amazon will exploit the potential commercial benefits from your info, while being paid to collect data and passing it onto the police state authorities. Or, simply have the attitude and resolve that the agencies can kiss your rear end.

      • “…….you need to get get rid of your cell phone……..”
        Get an RFID bag. They’re cheap on Amazon. Turn your phone off, slip it in the bag, and disappear until you want to make a call. Want to make a call? Go to a safe location, pull it out of the bag, make the quick call, turn it off, slip it in the bag, and drive away.
        The person you called might get the Hellfire missile meant for you, though…………

  11. So I suppose they are too busy tracking deer hunters and fishermen to bother with the Cartels, Syrians, Russians, and Chinese streaming across the borders.

  12. If you think Joe Biden’s DOJ/FBI is surveiling US citizens and their gun purchasing preferences now, wait until he gets a second term. It will be a nightmare.

  13. Very good reporting Suzanne. Shame on Bank of America. Bank of America needs new management if they think abusing their customers like this is acceptable. Brian Moynihan is their CEO and he needs to go.

    Also, shame on the scum that represent Alaska- Murkowski, Sullivan and Peltola for voting to extend warrantless searches on Americans- FISA last month. You all suck.

  14. They are terrified at the amount of ammunition The People possess. If they would obey the law their fear would be unnecessary. As for how guns get south of the border Little Timmy, there is no border. At least not an enforceable border. Nice red herring Timmy, so sad it died.

  15. Geez! I bought a tent at Cabela’s recently so my grandkids can go to Scout camp using my Alaska Airlines Visa card. I find this deeply disturbing and stunning. How is it that the FBI employees involved in this are still employed with the US Government? How is it that there is not a law and not penalties agains Bank of America?

  16. I cancelled both my Alaska Airlines Visa cards once I verified BoA turned over the above information without a warrant.

  17. “…….Your bank may be passing your purchase information to the federal government, especially if it can link you to support for Donald Trump or the term ‘MAGA’……..”
    Oh, oh. My wife’s name is Maggie………..

  18. Smart money is on Jim Jordan being a total fraud. Evidence is an obstacle to him and integrity is something he’s read about.

  19. The fact that if you buy a Bible, you’re put on a potential terrorist watch list is ridiculous. Do they do that to people who buy the Koran? Which group of readers has a history of terrorism?

  20. To ensure your financial privacy take these quick easy steps:
    1. do not use credit or debit cards.
    2. use cash
    3. even better, use gold
    4. close your bank account

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