The House Judiciary Committee will investigate Bank of America’s decision to hand over private customer data to the FBI.
What is the background?
In February 2021, Tucker Carlson obtained evidence that Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the United States, was helping the FBI investigate Jan. 6 by combing through customer data and voluntarily handing it over to federal investigators.
Carlson reported at the time:
In the days after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Bank of America went through its own customers’ financial and transaction records. These were the private records of Americans who had committed no crime; people who, as far as we know, had absolutely nothing to do with what happened at the Capitol. But at the request of federal investigators, Bank of America searched its databases looking for people who fit a specific profile.
That “profile,” Carlson explained, was “remarkably broad.”
“Any purchases of anything in Washington, D.C.; any overnight stay anywhere in an area spanning three jurisdictions and hundreds of miles; any purchase not just of legal firearms, but anything bought from a ‘weapons-related merchant,’ T-shirts included; and any airline-related purchases — not just flights to Washington, but flights to anywhere, from Omaha to Thailand. That is an absurdly wide net,” he explained.
Ultimately, Bank of America identified 211 individuals who met the “thresholds of interest.” The bank then allegedly turned over those customers’ data without a court order and without ever notifying those customers.
What is happening now?
The House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government sent Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan a letter on Thursday informing the bank of the investigation.
The letter cites an FBI whistleblower who testified that Bank of America “data-mined its customer base.”
“An FBI whistleblower has disclosed that shortly after the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Bank of America (BoA) provided the FBI — voluntarily and without any legal process — with a list of individuals who had made transactions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with a BoA credit or debit card between January 5 and January 7, 2021,” the letter states.
According to the letter, other FBI officials have corroborated the whistleblower’s claims.
“This testimony is alarming,” the letter declares. “According to veteran FBI employees, BoA provided, without any legal process, private financial information of Americans to the most powerful law enforcement entity in the country. This information appears to have had no individualized nexus to particularized criminal conduct, but was rather a data dump of BoA customers’ transactions over a three-day period.
“This information undoubtedly included private details about BoA customers who had nothing at all to do with the events of January 6,” the letter continues. “Even worse, BoA specifically provided information about Americans who exercised their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm.”
Specifically, lawmakers are requesting Bank of America turn over any documents and communications related to their voluntary cooperation with the FBI, as well as “any internal database of firearms purchases by BoA customers.”
The letter, written by Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), gives Bank of America until June 8 to comply.
The bank has not yet responded to the letter.
However, last week the bank said it “follows all applicable laws and regulatory requirements to receive, evaluate, process, safeguard, and narrowly respond to law enforcement requests.”
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