Yellen Dodges Questions About Government Spy Scheme

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently addressed questions regarding the alleged surveillance of consumer purchases and transactions by the Treasury Department. During a hearing, Yellen was asked if financial institutions had been instructed to monitor legal purchases for signs of “extremism.” This inquiry was based on a letter from the House Judiciary Committee.

Yellen acknowledged the receipt of the letter and expressed the department’s intention to investigate and respond accordingly. When asked directly if banks and financial institutions had been instructed to provide this information, Yellen assured a thorough examination of the matter. The concerns raised by the committee were taken seriously, and prompt action was urged.

The House Judiciary Committee had previously claimed that federal investigators had directed banks to search and filter customer transactions using specific terms like “MAGA” and “Trump” as part of their investigation into the events of January 6. Additionally, the committee obtained documents suggesting that banks should query transactions associated with certain retail establishments such as “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” “Cabela’s,” and “Bass Pro Shops.”

These findings emerged from an inquiry led by the House Judiciary Committee along with the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. In the course of their investigation, they acquired documents showcasing the application of Merchant Category Codes (MCC) to search for transactions associated with “Small Arms” as well as “Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies.” This search also included specific terms such as “Dick’s Sporting Goods,” “Cabela’s,” and “Bass Pro Shops.”

Furthermore, the House Judiciary Committee obtained documents indicating that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) had cautioned financial institutions about potential indicators of extremism, including the purchase of books, including religious texts, such as the Bible, and subscriptions to media sources containing extremist views.

While Secretary Yellen did not provide specific details during the hearing, her commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter demonstrates the Treasury Department’s dedication to addressing concerns and ensuring the appropriate use of financial data. As the investigation progresses, it is expected that further information regarding the alleged surveillance of consumer purchases and transactions will be disclosed.