It seems the FBI—in its ongoing rogue-ness as a Federal government institution—obtained individual bank records of individuals about whom they had some curiosity without the nicety of the legally required court orders.
Legal experts are criticizing the FBI for allegedly obtaining the financial records of US customers with Bank of America “without any legal process” following the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The allegations about subpoena-less bank-records gathering were included in a staff report from the full, GOP-led House Judiciary Committee that was released about an hour ahead of Thursday’s hearing.
From that report:
Just like FBI whistleblowers…retired FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst George Hill provided the Committee with detailed allegations of FBI civil liberties abuses. Specifically, he testified that following the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Bank of America (BoA) gave the FBI’s Washington Field Office a list of individuals who had made transactions in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area with a BoA credit or debit card between January 5 and January 7, 2021.
He also testified that individuals who had previously purchased a firearm with a BoA product were elevated to the top of the list provided by BoA.
All of that is entirely valid, but beyond that is Bank of America’s behavior. Where’s the hue and cry over that bank so willingly giving up its customers’ personal records? Why did that bank’s managers choose to not demand the subpoena that is so clearly required before any bank gives to Government—or to anyone or anything—those personal data?
Alan Dershowitz, Harvard University Professor Emeritus in law:
Banks should not be turning records, private records over, the next thing doctors will be turning over private records and priests and rabbis. You just can’t start violating people’s privacy without a court order.
You bet. And Bank of America needs to be held to account, suitably sanctioned, and required to make serious financial restitution to those of its customers its managers chose to victimize. And those managers should be fired for cause and required to misbehave on some other company’s payroll.