The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
There were thousands of people peacefully assembled in Washington, D.C. on January 6th. Unfortunately there were also a few hundred that decided to riot. However, that does not change the fact that those peacefully assembled had the right to be there. Unfortunately, many of those people who were peacefully assembled are facing consequences for simply being there.
Last night Fox News reported the following:
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” has exclusively obtained evidence that Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the country with more than 60 million customers, is actively but secretly engaged in the hunt for extremists in cooperation with the government. Bank of America is, without the knowledge or the consent of its customers, sharing private information with federal law enforcement agencies. Bank of America effectively is acting as an intelligence agency, but they’re not telling you about it.
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.
Here’s what that profile was: “1. Customers confirmed as transacting, either through bank account debit card or credit card purchases in Washington, D.C. between 1/5 and 1/6. 2. Purchases made for Hotel/Airbnb RSVPs in DC, VA, and MD after 1/6. 3. Any purchase of weapons or at a weapons-related merchant between 1/7 and their upcoming suspected stay in D.C. area around Inauguration Day. 4. Airline related purchases since 1/6.”
The first thing you should notice about that profile is that it’s 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.
Bank of America identified a total of 211 customers who met these “thresholds of interest.” At that point, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” has learned, Bank of America turned over the results of its internal scan to federal authorities, apparently without notifying the customers who were being spied upon. Federal investigators then interviewed at least one of these unsuspecting people. That person, we’ve learned, hadn’t done anything wrong and was cleared.
The article continues:
It’s not even clear that what Bank of America did is even legal. We spoke to a number of lawyers about this, and some of them told us that what Bank of America did might, in fact, not be legal and could, in fact, be challenged in court. One knowledgeable attorney pointed us to 12 U.S.C. 3403. That’s a federal law that allows banks to tip off the feds to any information that “may be relevant to a possible violation of any statute or regulation.”
Now, the Justice Department instructs federal agents to remind banks of that law and, of course, they do so with maximum aggression. But the question is, what legally constitutes information that may be relevant to a possible crime? Does buying a muffin in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5 make you a potential domestic extremist?
According to Bank of America, yes. Yes, it does.
What we need now is a good class-action suit against Bank of America.