From Buying Bibles to Using MAGA: How the U.S. Government is Monitoring Ordinary Transactions

Where does it end, America?

The Treasury Department, under the likely direction of the Biden administration, has been surveilling Americans based on their personal transactions—transactions as innocent as purchasing a Bible. 

Picture this: you walk into a bookstore, you buy a Bible, and suddenly, you’re on a government watch list. 

Sound unbelievable?

Not according to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. This isn’t fiction — it’s the unnerving reality of today’s America. 

Under the pretext of sniffing out ‘extremism’ following the tumultuous events of January 6, major financial institutions, at the behest of the FBI and the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, have been combing through ordinary Americans’ financial records.

These institutions aren’t just any banks. We’re talking about heavy hitters like Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo, among others. 

And what were they looking for? 

Signs of ‘extremism’ that are so broad and undefined that even buying a Bible could raise red flags. This is not just an overreach; it’s a grave assault on our fundamental rights and a clear violation of the 1974 Privacy Act.

The Privacy Act was passed into law to safeguard citizens from being targeted by federal agencies simply for exercising their Constitutional rights, such as—you guessed it—purchasing a Bible. 

The Act specifically limits federal agencies from collecting information about how individuals exercise their First Amendment rights, such as religious practices, unless such collection is explicitly authorized by law or is necessary for a law enforcement activity.

Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leading the charge in Congress, is uncovering how these institutions, in collaboration with federal agencies, cast a net so broad that it ensnares everyday activities under the guise of potential ‘suspicious’ behavior. 

This isn’t about catching criminals but monitoring the American populace. It’s about creating profiles based not on evidence of criminal activity but rather on political and religious affiliations.

“If you’ve got the wrong political beliefs,” Jordan said, “well you’re potentially a domestic violent extremist.”

Imagine financial spies, without a warrant, peering into your personal bank transactions, looking for keywords like ‘MAGA’ or ‘Trump,’ or tracking purchases from places like Cabela’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

It’s a matter of monitoring your personal beliefs and activities, not just your finances.

According to Jordan, the federal government has established ‘profiles’ on American citizens, storing them in a ‘secret portal’ accessible to numerous companies to assess the extent of customers’ extremism. 

During a March 6 hearing, the Ohio Republican highlighted that this confidential database, shared between more than 650 companies and federal officials, contains sensitive information on U.S. citizens.

Again, this is a flagrant violation of the 1974 Privacy Act that prohibits the federal government from sharing a citizen’s personal information to third parties.

The question now looms large: How deep does this surveillance go? And what does it mean for our privacy, freedom of expression, and the very fabric of our democracy? The implications are chilling. We need to demand answers and accountability. The sanctity of our personal freedoms depends on it.

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