US : House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has subpoenaed Bank of America (BoA) for information over the company’s alleged sharing with the FBI of private customer data from around the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, events in Washington.
The subpoena is part of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government’s probe “into major banks sharing Americans’ private financial data with the [FBI] without legal process for transactions made in the Washington, DC, area around Jan. 6, 2021″—the day that supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress was certifying the 2020 election, which the former president has called rigged and stolen. Politico first reported the Nov. 16 development.
The committee subpoenaed relevant documents from the bank, including internal communications about the decision to transfer the information to the FBI, any communications that the bank had with the agency, and any other information. The lawmakers gave Bank of America a June 8 deadline to comply.
In a 78-page whistleblower report released by the House Judiciary Committee on May 19, whistleblowers allege that in the aftermath of the riot, Bank of America gave the FBI information about customers who made transactions in the Washington area on or near Jan. 6, 2021.
Those who had used Bank of America accounts to purchase a firearm, regardless of when or where the transaction took place, were bumped to the top of that list.
George Hill, a retired FBI supervisory intelligence analyst, told the panel: “The Bank of America, with no directive from the FBI, data-mined its customer base.
And they data-mined a date range of [Jan. 5, 2021, to Jan. 7, 2021] any BoA customer who used a BoA product [meaning a Bank of America credit or debit 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.”
No further action was taken with the information, according to testimony from the special agent in charge of the Boston field office, which received the information.
Bank of America told the Judiciary Committee that its conduct was “within a legal process initiated by the United States Department of the Treasury.”
However, in a Nov. 16 letter to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, informing him of the subpoena, Mr. Jordan, who also chairs the Weaponization Select Subcommittee, wrote that, “it is unclear what ‘legal’ process permits the FBI or BoA to share the sensitive customer information of potentially thousands of BoA customers and implicate them in a federal law enforcement investigation without any clear criminal nexus.”
After all, the Ohio congressman wrote,“If such a lawful authority exists, as BoA asserts, for BoA to freely share private financial information without any legal process or specific nexus to criminality, Congress has a responsibility to consider reforms that adequately protect Americans’ information.”
Mr. Jordan went on to say that “it should not be the case that federal law enforcement has carte blanche access to Americans’ financial information by deeming a transaction or class of transactions as ‘suspicious’ or otherwise.”
The bank told The Epoch Times in an email: “We followed all applicable laws in our interactions with the Trump Administration’s Treasury Department and law enforcement.
These interactions began when the Trump Administration’s Treasury Department urgently gathered major banks and law enforcement on Jan. 15, 2021, and shared information regarding potential criminal activity that could disrupt the upcoming inauguration.
We have cooperated with the committee as they evaluate whether the laws we complied with should be changed.”
In a May 25 letter to Mr. Moynihan, Mr. Jordan and Subcommittee on the Administrative State, Regulatory Reform, and Antitrust Chairman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) expressed concern over the allegations, which they called “alarming.”
Aside from other privacy concerns, the Republican lawmakers wrote, “This information undoubtedly included private details about BoA customers who had nothing at all to do with the events of January 6.
Even worse, BoA specifically provided information about Americans who exercised their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm.”
By Jackson Richman and Joseph Lord
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