Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a response in opposition to the Department of Justice’s effort to block Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit asking for records of communication between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and several financial institutions about the reported transfer of financial transaction records of people in DC, Maryland and Virginia on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021.
The court filing comes in a Judicial Watch lawsuit against the FBI (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:21-cv-01216) for all records of communication between the FBI and any financial institution, including but not limited to Bank of America, Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank, Discover, and/or American Express, in which the FBI sought transaction data for those financial institutions’ debit and credit card account holders who made purchases in Washington, DC, Maryland and/or Virginia on January 5, 2021 and/or January 6, 2021.
In its motion for summary judgment, the Justice Department, despite previously admitting to the existence of these records, refused to “confirm or deny the existence of records” about this surveillance of American citizens.
Judicial Watch argues in response that the Justice Department should not be allowed to shield “improper activity.”
In this case, the FBI appears to have conducted an improper, broad sweep of financial records, not just those of persons it had reason to believe were involved in the events of Jan. 6, but many more Americans. Detailed media reports not only indicate that the FBI sought financial records, but also set forth in detail the specific criteria and scope of the records obtained.
Bank of America reportedly “actively but secretly engaged in the hunt for extremists in cooperation with the government” and, following the events of January 6, gave the FBI financial records of their customers who fit the following profile:
- Customers confirmed as transacting, either through bank account debit card or credit card, purchases in Washington, D.C. between Jan. 5 and Jan.6.
- Purchases made for Hotel/Airbnb RSVPs in DC, VA, and MD after Jan. 6.
- Any purchase of weapons or at a weapons-related merchant between Jan. 7 and their upcoming suspected stay in D.C. area around Inauguration Day.
- Airline related purchases since Jan.6.
“This Judicial Watch lawsuit shows how the FBI is corruptly trying to hide that it used the January 6 incident as an excuse to conduct unlawful surveillance of the American people’s bank transactions,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.