Bank of America searched through customer transactions to target people who may have been involved in the Capitol riot and handed information over to federal authorities, according to a new report.
At the request of federal investigators, the bank identified 211 customers who fit the profile after making purchases in the D.C. area or spending money on flights or accomation in the days around the violent riot, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed on Thursday.
Carlson reported that one person identified by their transactions was taken in for questioning but was found to have no links to the event, as he accused the bank of spying on its customers and sharing their private information without their knowledge.
He also accused the bank of treating its customers ‘like a member of Al Qaeda’ for handing over the information.
Carlson later accused the left of ‘creating extremists like they did in Iraq’ as he hit out at federal attempts to identify domestic terrorists from the Capitol riot, stating that it was ‘dramatically elevating the chance that something really awful is going to happen’.
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Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed on Thursday that Bank of America had handed over customer information to federal agents following the Capitol riot on January 6
Bank of America says by law it can not comments on dealings with law enforcement
In the opening of his Thursday’s night show Carlson spoke at length about the Bank of America report, after criticizing the federal investigation on their ‘hunt for political extremists’.
‘At one level that does not sound bad. Because no sane person is for political extremism, especially violent extremism,’ he said, but argued they ‘have to be more precise’ in the search.
‘Here’s the remarkable thing about this public conversation we’re having. No one is doing that. Have you noticed? None of these newly energized and highly empowered extremist hunters have told us exactly what an extremist is,’ he continued.
Carlson then revealed the new claims about Bank of America’s actions in which he alleged that the second largest bank in America, which has 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,’ Carlson claimed.
‘Bank of America effectively is acting as an intelligence agency. But they are not telling you about it.’
He reported that the bank had gone through the records of Americans ‘who had committed no crime’, searching for customers who fit certain criteria.
These included people who had made debit card or credit card purchases in Washington, D.C. between January 5 and January 6, and those who had made purchases for hotels and AirBnb reservations in Washington, Virginia, or Maryland after January 6.
He reported that the bank had gone through the records of Americans ‘who had committed no crime’, searching for customers who fit certain criteria, as listed above
The criteria also included those who made accomodation reservations
And people who had made weapons or airline purchases, as pictured
Other criteria, he claimed, included people who had made made weapons purchases or purchases at a weapons-related merchant between January 7 and their upcoming suspected stay in the D.C.; or an airline-related purchase since January 6.
The Fox Host blasted the profile as ‘remarkably broad’ and claimed that it cast an ‘absurdedly wide net’.
‘Any overnight stay anywhere in the three state area. That’s spans hundreds of miles,’ he fumed.
‘And then any airline related purchases. Not just flights to Washington, flights to anywhere, to Omaha, to Thailand.’
He also blasted the bank for then handing over the information on the 221 people identified ‘without notifying the customers who were being spied upon’.
He claimed that federal invesigators interviewed one of these people ‘hadn’t done anything wrong and in the end was cleared’.
It is not known on what grounds the person was allegedly interviewed and if it was linked to terrorism charges.
Bank of America has said it is required by federal law to comply to requests
Carlson blasted the bank as treating its customers like ‘a member of Al Queda’
There is no federal law that explicitly charges crimes as domestic terrorism, but prosecutors have successfully used other statutes to cover conduct that might reasonably be seen as terrorism, including at the Capitol.
‘Imagine if you were that person?’ Carlson fumed.
‘The FBI hauls you in for questioning in a terror investigation. Not because you have done anything suspicious. You haven’t. You bought plane tickets and visited your country’s capitol. You thought you could do that. You thought it was your country.
‘Now they are sweating you because your bank, which you trust with your most private information, information of everything you buy has ratted you out to the fed without telling you without your knowledge.
‘Because Bank of America did that, you are being treated like a member of Al Qaeda. What country is this?’
‘That actually happened to someone. It’s hard to believe it, but it did.’
Carlson then claimed that Bank of America confirmed it actually happened ‘by not denying it’.
‘We don’t comment on our communications with law enforcement,’ the bank said in a statement to Fox.
‘All banks, it continues, have responsibilities under federal law to cooperate with law enforcement snirks in full compliance with the law.’
Federal agents were allegedly hunting for those involved in the January 6 Capitol riot
The allegedly questioned one person identified by the bank who was innocent of any crime
Carlson blasted the statement alleging that Bank of America had a choice and claimed that its actions could be challenged in court.
‘Bank of America did have a choice. The bank could have resisted turning over information on its innocent customers to federal investigators. But Bank of America did not do that.
DailyMail.com also contacted Bank of America and a representative said that it could not, by law, comment in the claims or its potential dealings with law enforcement, pointing to the same statement offered to Fox News.
Banks are required by law to cooperate with law enforcement investigations or else face criminal and civil penalties.
There are also specific laws that prohibit banks from divilging information about those dealings with law enforcement.
They include the Bank Secracy Act that requires financial institutions in the US to assist U.S. government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering.
Capital One Financial Corp was last month fined $390 million for engaging in what the U.S. government called willful and negligent violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
It is not known at what other points Bank of America, or other U.S. banks, may have been asked to hand over information on customers.
Later in the show, Carlson again targeted federal authoriries definition of ‘domestic terrorism’ as he accused them of not explaining what it is.
‘We’re starting to believe they are not defining it for a reason,’ he claimed.
He compared the events of January 6 to 9/11 and said that the pro-Trump mob ‘wasn’t terrorism, it was a riot’
‘So I wonder that’s the pretext upon which they are justifying 9/11 level surveillance suspension of civil liberties effectively martial law in the Capitol? It’s that?’ the host asked.
He spoke to conservative commetator Saagar Enjet who stated: ‘I’m deeply troubled by the people who ruined Iraq and Afghanistan now trying to bring their methods to the United States.’
‘They are creating extremists like they did in Iraq,’ Carlson agreed.
‘Making it a dead certainty that somebody is going to be driven into total lunacy and do something terrible. I mean, they are making people crazy. And dramatically elevating the chance that something really awful is going to happen. I’m upset about it.’
Following the riot, Bank of America had already stated that it woud ‘review [its] decision making criteria’ when it comes to making politicial donations.