***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee and its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released an interim staff report titled, “Financial Surveillance in the United States: How Federal Law Enforcement Commandeered Financial Institutions to Spy on Americans.” The report reveals alarming evidence of federal law enforcement engaging in broad financial surveillance and prying into the private transactions of American consumers. This surveillance, not predicated on specific evidence of criminal conduct, targeted terms and transactions related to core political and religious expressions protected by the Constitution.

Federal law enforcement, including the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the FBI, facilitated multiple backchannel discussions with financial institutions to gather Americans’ private financial information. These discussions involved some of the largest financial institutions in the United States, such as Barclays, U.S. Bank, Charles Schwab, HSBC, Bank of America, PayPal, and many others. Tactics included keyword filtering of transactions, targeting terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP,” as well as purchases of books, religious texts, firearms-related items, and recreational stores, like Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. This surveillance extended beyond criminal suspicion, likely encompassing millions of Americans with conservative viewpoints or Second Amendment interests.

The report also details the existence of a web portal run by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), 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. This portal appears to have shared intelligence products with financial institutions that were used to identify individuals who fit the profile of criminal and “domestic violent extremists,” often because of their conservative political views or other constitutionally protected activity. Federal law enforcement used these reports and other materials they shared with financial institutions to commandeer their databases and conduct sweeping searches of individuals not suspected of committing any crimes, without a warrant, in order to identify individuals making certain “suspicious” transactions.

The pattern of financial surveillance uncovered in the report raises serious concerns about federal law enforcement’s and financial institutions’ commitment to respecting Americans’ privacy rights and fundamental civil liberties.

Read the full interim staff report here.

Author: Press Release


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here