FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted Wednesday the bureau colludes with businesses to collect information on innocent Americans.
Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie was questioning Wray about pipe bombs found at the RNC and DNC on Jan. 6 before he turned his attention toward Bank of America, which allegedly colluded with the FBI.
“George Hill, former FBI supervisor and intelligence analyst in the Boston field office, told us that the Bank of America, with no legal process, gave to the FBI gun purchase records with no geographical boundaries, for anybody that was a Bank of America customer. Is that true?” Massie asked.
“Well, what I do know is that the, a number of business community partners all the time, including financial institutions, share information with us about possible criminal activity. My understanding is that that’s fully lawful.”
“Did you ask for that information—”
“In this specific incident that you’re asking about, my understanding is that that information was shared with field offices for information only. But then recalled to avoid even the appearance of any kind of overreach. But my understanding is that is a fully lawful process,” Wray said.
“Was there a warrant involved?”
“Again, my understanding is that the institution in question shared information with us, as happens all the time —”
“Did you request the information?” Massie pressed.
“I can’t speak to the specifics.”
“Okay, well we have an email where it says the FBI did give the search queries to Bank of America. And Bank of America responded to the FBI and gave over this information without a search warrant,” Massie said. “Do you believe there’s any limitation on your ability to obtain gun purchase data, or purchase information for people who aren’t suspects from banks without a warrant?” (RELATED: Biden Justice Department Is Going After Donations To Jan. 6 Rioters)
“Well now you’re asking a legal question, which I would prefer to defer to lawyers, since I’m not practicing as one right now, including the department. But what I will tell you is that my understanding is that the process by which we receive information from business community partners, across a wide variety of industries, including financial institutions, sharing information with us about possible criminal activity, is something that is fully lawful under current federal law.”
“Maybe lawful, but it’s not constitutional. I yield back,” Massie concluded.
Massie and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan have spearheaded an investigation into alleged collusion between large banks and the FBI. Massie and Jordan sent letters to Citigroup, JPMorgan, PNC Financial Services, Truist, U.S. Bankcorp and Wells Fargo to discern the transfer of private information to the FBI.
The letters argue Bank of America voluntarily provided the FBI with a list of individuals who made transactions in the Washington D.C., area between Jan. 5-7, 2021. The letters asked whether the banks entered into similar arrangements with the bureau.