In a time where personal privacy has become more critical than ever, a shocking revelation concerning Bank of America (BoA) and the FBI has prompted Republicans to take action. This week, House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) declared they would probe into a severe breach of customers’ privacy by BoA, which occurred in conjunction with events related to January 6, 2021.
According to alarming whistleblower testimony, BoA willingly turned over a list of its customers to the FBI, which detailed all those who had made any purchases within the vicinity of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area between January 5 and 7, 2021. The disturbing factor was the absence of legal demand from the FBI or evidence suggesting these customers were involved in illicit activities.
Every day we find another illegal intelligence op by the FBI against citizens.
It's just outrageous. https://t.co/cIawBg74jK
— Jeff Bernard ✝️ 🇺🇸 (@JeffBernard1) May 25, 2023
As expressed by retired FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst George Hill, BoA, without any instruction from the FBI, initiated data mining of its customer base during this period. To add to the severity, anyone who had ever purchased a firearm with a BoA product was moved to the top of this list, drawing further attention from the FBI.
Joseph Bonavolonta, former supervisor to Hill and Special Agent-in-Charge of the Boston Field Office, corroborated this troubling testimony. Information of innocent individuals was sent to various FBI offices, including the Springfield, Illinois, field office.
It's a company of useful idiots and tools of tyrants. https://t.co/Bu3Yo6meg2
— John Danneskjold (@JohnDanneskjold) May 19, 2023
This severe breach of privacy undoubtedly threatens the rights of American citizens. The decision to provide personal financial data of Americans to the nation’s strongest law enforcement entity without any apparent correlation to criminal conduct is undoubtedly alarming. As it can be aptly termed, this data dump did not discriminate in its scope, indiscriminately including BoA customers who had no link with the events of January 6.
Perhaps more unsettling is the revelation that BoA also shared information about Americans who had exercised their Second Amendment rights to purchase a firearm.
This unbidden sharing of customer information between BoA and the FBI indicates a worrying precedent that the House Judiciary Committee is determined to bring to light. Accordingly, the committee has now demanded all related documents and information from Brian Moynihan, CEO of BoA.
House Republicans are striving to understand the extent of the cooperation between financial institutions like BoA and the FBI in gathering American citizens’ data. Accordingly, they have requested that BoA provide all records related to the provision of customer data by June 8.
The FBI has declined to comment on this investigation. At the same time, BoA stated that it “follows all applicable laws and regulatory requirements to receive, evaluate, process, safeguard, and narrowly respond to law enforcement requests.”
In an era of digital privacy, this breach rings alarm bells for financial institutions and their clients. The Republican party’s swift action signals a commitment to protect citizens’ rights, placing the preservation of privacy at the forefront of its legislative agenda. The coming days will reveal more about the extent of this potential violation and its implications on American citizens and their right to privacy.