Thursday 8 February 2024

Janet Yellen Dodges Questions On Whether Biden Treasury Dept Urged Banks To Search Private Transactions

 Asked whether the Treasury Department urged financial institutions to examine legal purchases for signs of extremism, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dodged the question, Fox News reported.

In January, the House Judiciary Committee asserted that federal investigators, as part of an investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, urged banks to search and filter legal purchases with terms like “MAGA,” “Trump,” “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” “Cabela’s,”  and “Bass Pro Shops” while warning that the sale of “religious texts” could indicate “extremism.”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan stated in a letter that after Jan. 6, the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), sent banks outlines “typologies” of “various persons of interest” as well as “suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.”

“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 areas with no apparent purpose,’ or ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,’” Jordan wrote to the former director of FinCEN. “In other words, FinCEN used large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) stated, “Increasingly, we are hearing the federal government is suggesting banks search private financial transactions using highly partisan political terms or check to see if customers made purchases that could be associated with legal sales of firearms or even religious texts.”

She asked Yellen, “Has Treasury — including FinCEN or federal banking agencies like the Fed, FDIC, OCC — instructed financial institutions to search Americans’ legal transactions in attempts to surveil their purchases?”

“Well, we received the letter from you, I believe, on this topic, and we intend to investigate and to respond,” Yellen dodged.

“Have you instructed banks and financial institutions to provide this information?” Wagner pressed.

“Well, FinCEN, our job is to work with financial institutions to make sure —” Yellen replied.

“Are they instructing financial institutions to search Americans’ legal transactions in attempts to surveil their purchases?” Wagner reiterated.

“I promise a thorough look into everything,” Yellen answered.

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