Shocking: Feds asked financial institutions to flag Bible purchases and terms like MAGA, Trump, and Bass Pro

Important Takeaways:

  • Shocking report from Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, indicates that federal law enforcement agencies wanted financial institutions to identify potential extremists by flagging otherwise benign purchases and search terms affiliated with former President Donald Trump in the wake of the incident at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • On Wednesday, Jordan sent an alarming letter to Noah Bishoff, the former director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, better known as FinCEN. According to the letter, Jordan’s committee and select subcommittee have collected documents which suggest that FinCEN was targeting law-abiding Americans “on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”
  • One FinCEN document referenced in the letter allegedly urged financial institutions to query “Zelle payment messages” for terms such as “TRUMP” and “MAGA.” Another FinCEN analysis mentioned in the letter apparently suggested that these same institutions could identify possible “Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent” extremists by examining customers’ transactions, looking for the purchase of “religious texts” — including the Bible, Jordan said — or “bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel areas with no apparent purpose.”
  • The letter also alleges that Key Bank created presentation slides about merchant category codes and keywords that financial institutions could use that might identify “potential active shooters” or other “dangerous International Terrorists / Domestic Terrorists / Homegrown Violent Extremists (‘Lone Wolves.’)” The MCCs Key Bank suggested supposedly included “3484: Small Arms” and “5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies,” and the keywords supposedly included the names of notable national gun stores, such as “Cabela’s” and “Bass Pro Shops.”

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The reality is that terrorism has been elevated – FBI Director Warns


Important Takeaways:

  • FBI Director Wray warns terror threat to Americans at ‘whole other level’ amid Hamas-Israel conflict
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday warned
    • “The reality is that the terrorism threat has been elevated throughout 2023, but the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole other level,” Wray told lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
    • “We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration, the likes of which we haven’t seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago,” Wray said. “In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West.”
  • Wray warned that the most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw inspiration from the events to attack Americans, including homegrown violent extremists who are inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, or by domestic violent extremists who are targeting Muslim or Jewish targets.

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David Fiorazo perspective on Kamala speaking at Houston Baptist Convention denouncing pro-life “extremists”

2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Harris Decries Pro-Life ‘Extremists’ At Baptist Convention, Says Nation Must ‘Fight For Light Over Darkness’
  • Nancy Pelosi recently said it was sinful to restrict abortion and called it unjust if a woman couldn’t do whatever she wanted with her body. They’re framing arguments by appealing to emotion while changing both language and meanings of words. Ironically, her comments came during a roundtable discussion on “reproductive health.”
  • To the left, it’s better not to reproduce, to prevent parenthood rather than protect a pre-born baby, carry out a pregnancy and allow a baby to be born.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the National Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas, last week and received plenty of applause. From Christians?
  • But it was quite a confusing speech – IF you pay attention to her actions and policies.
    • She denounced pro-life “extremists” working to outlaw abortion. We better understand what a divisive, secular progressive politician who openly opposes the biblical worldview is doing speaking at a Christian event. Harris told the crowd that for her and Joe Biden, “faith guides our work every day.”
    • The crowd applauded Harris when she claimed extremists “take away the freedom of women to make decisions about their own bodies.”
  • Are people that easily confused?
  • Host on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough said last Friday:
    • “As a Southern Baptist, I grew up reading the Bible — maybe a backslidden Baptist, but I still know the Bible. Jesus never once talked about abortion, never once! …Never once mentioned it, and for people perverting the gospel of Jesus Christ down to one issue, it’s heresy.
  • So according to theologians in the godless media and in the totalitarian Biden administration, if we quote Scriptures that support human life in mother’s wombs, we are perverting the gospel? Calling evil good.”
  • Read Jeremiah 32:35 states: Moreover, Leviticus 18:21
  • Watch Kamala’s speech here

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Mid-term Elections, Southern Border, and Supreme Court decision on abortion: DHS issues alert of Increased Violence next 6 months

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Important Takeaways:

  • US sees heightened extremist threat heading into midterms
  • A looming Supreme Court decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the midterm elections are potential triggers for extremist violence over the next six months, the Department of Homeland Security said
  • DHS also warns that China, Russia, Iran and other nations seek to foment divisions within the U.S. to weaken the country and its standing in the world.
  • “The alert highlights the fact that society is becoming more violent every single day,” said Brian Harrell, a former assistant secretary at DHS.

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Facebook removes 8.7 million sexual photos of kids in last three months

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook page is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels, Belgium, April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge/File Photo

By Paresh Dave

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc said on Wednesday that company moderators during the last quarter removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed software that automatically flags such photos.

The machine learning tool rolled out over the last year identifies images that contain both nudity and a child, allowing increased enforcement of Facebook’s ban on photos that show minors in a sexualized context.

A similar system also disclosed on Wednesday catches users engaged in “grooming,” or befriending minors for sexual exploitation.

Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis told Reuters in an interview that the “machine helps us prioritize” and “more efficiently queue” problematic content for the company’s trained team of reviewers.

The company is exploring applying the same technology to its Instagram app.

Under pressure from regulators and lawmakers, Facebook has vowed to speed up removal of extremist and illicit material. Machine learning programs that sift through the billions of pieces of content users post each day are essential to its plan.

Machine learning is imperfect, and news agencies and advertisers are among those that have complained this year about Facebook’s automated systems wrongly blocking their posts.

Davis said the child safety systems would make mistakes but users could appeal.

“We’d rather err on the side of caution with children,” she said.

Facebook’s rules for years have banned even family photos of lightly clothed children uploaded with “good intentions,” concerned about how others might abuse such images.

Before the new software, Facebook relied on users or its adult nudity filters to catch child images. A separate system blocks child pornography that has previously been reported to authorities.

Facebook has not previously disclosed data on child nudity removals, though some would have been counted among the 21 million posts and comments it removed in the first quarter for sexual activity and adult nudity.

Shares of Facebook fell 5 percent on Wednesday.

Facebook said the program, which learned from its collection of nude adult photos and clothed children photos, has led to more removals. It makes exceptions for art and history, such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a naked girl fleeing a Vietnam War napalm attack.

The child grooming system evaluates factors such as how many people have blocked a particular user and whether that user quickly attempts to contact many children, Davis said.

Michelle DeLaune, chief operating officer at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), said the organization expects to receive about 16 million child porn tips worldwide this year from Facebook and other tech companies, up from 10 million last year.

With the increase, NCMEC said it is working with Facebook to develop software to decide which tips to assess first.

Still, DeLaune acknowledged that a crucial blind spot is encrypted chat apps and secretive “dark web” sites where much of new child pornography originates.

Encryption of messages on Facebook-owned WhatsApp, for example, prevents machine learning from analyzing them.

DeLaune said NCMEC would educate tech companies and “hope they use creativity” to address the issue.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Greg Mitchell)

Exclusive: U.S. widens surveillance to include ‘homegrown violent extremists’ – documents

Exclusive: U.S. widens surveillance to include 'homegrown violent extremists' - documents

By Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government has broadened an interpretation of which citizens can be subject to physical or digital surveillance to include “homegrown violent extremists,” according to official documents seen by Reuters.

The change last year to a Department of Defense manual on procedures governing its intelligence activities was made possible by a decades-old presidential executive order, bypassing congressional and court review.

The new manual, released in August 2016, now permits the collection of information about Americans for counterintelligence purposes “when no specific connection to foreign terrorist(s) has been established,” according to training slides created last year by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).

The slides were obtained by Human Rights Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request about the use of federal surveillance laws for counter-drug or immigration purposes and shared exclusively with Reuters.

The Air Force and the Department of Defense told Reuters that the documents are authentic.

The slides list the shooting attacks in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 and Orlando, Florida, in June 2016 as examples that would fall under the “homegrown violent extremist” category. The shooters had declared fealty to Islamic State shortly before or during the attacks, but investigators found no actual links to the organization that has carried out shootings and bombings of civilians worldwide.

Michael Mahar, the Department of Defense’s senior intelligence oversight official, said in an interview that AFOSI and other military counterintelligence agencies are allowed to investigate both active duty and U.S. civilian personnel as long as there is a potential case connected to the military. Investigations of civilians are carried out cooperatively with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mahar said.

Executive order 12333, signed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and later modified by former President George W. Bush, establishes how U.S. intelligence agencies such as the CIA are allowed to pursue foreign intelligence investigations. The order also allows surveillance of U.S. citizens in certain cases, including for activities defined as counterintelligence.

Under the previous Defense Department manual’s definition of counterintelligence activity, which was published in 1982, the U.S. government was required to demonstrate a target was working on behalf of the goals of a foreign power or terrorist group.

It was not clear what practical effect the expanded definition might have on how the U.S. government gathers intelligence. One of the Air Force slides described the updated interpretation as among several “key changes.”


However, some former U.S. national security officials, who generally support giving agents more counterterrorism tools but declined to be quoted, said the change appeared to be a minor adjustment that was unlikely to significantly impact intelligence gathering.

Some privacy and civil liberties advocates who have seen the training slides disagreed, saying they were alarmed by the change because it could increase the number of U.S. citizens who can be monitored under an executive order that lacks sufficient oversight.

“What happens under 12333 takes place under a cloak of darkness,” said Sarah St. Vincent, a surveillance researcher with Human Rights Watch who first obtained the documents. “We have enormous programs potentially affecting people in the United States and abroad, and we would never know about these changes” without the documents, she said.

The National Security Act, a federal law adopted 70 years ago, states that Congress must be kept informed about significant intelligence activities. But the law leaves the interpretation of that to the executive branch.

The updated interpretation was motivated by recognition that some people who may pose a security threat do not have specific ties to a group such as Islamic State or Boko Haram, Mahar at the Defense Department said.

“The internet and social media has made it easier for terrorist groups to radicalize followers without establishing direct contact,” Mahar said.

“We felt that we needed the flexibility to target those individuals,” he said.

In August 2016, during the final months of former President Barack Obama’s administration, a Pentagon press release announced that the department had updated its intelligence collecting procedures but it made no specific reference to “homegrown violent extremists.”

The revision was signed off by the Department of Justice’s senior leadership, including the attorney general, and reviewed by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government privacy watchdog.

Mahar said that “homegrown violent extremist,” while listed in the Air Force training slide, is not an official phrase used by the Defense Department. It does not have a specific list of traits or behaviors that would qualify someone for monitoring under the new definition, Mahar said.

Hunches or intuition are not enough to trigger intelligence gathering, Mahar said, adding that a “reasonable belief” that a target may be advancing the goals of an international terrorist group to harm the United States is required.

The updated Defense Department manual refers to any target “reasonably believed to be acting for, or in furtherance of, the goals or objectives of an international terrorist or international terrorist organization, for purposes harmful to the national security of the United States.”

Mahar said that in counterterrorism investigations, federal surveillance laws, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, continue to govern electronic surveillance in addition to the limitations detailed in his department’s manual.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; editing by Grant McCool)

In San Bernardino, solemn ceremony marks mass shooting

Attendees bow their heads during a memorial event at the Inland Regional Center on the one year anniversary of the San Bernardino attack in San Bernardino, California, U.S.

By Alex Dobuzinskis

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (Reuters) – The sound of a bell tolled through loudspeakers on Friday outside a building in Southern California, ringing once for each of the 14 people killed in a mass shooting by Islamist militants one year ago at the site.

More than 200 workers at the Inland Regional Center, a complex in San Bernardino, stood with their heads bowed to mark a moment of silence punctuated by the bell tones.

Many of the same people were at their jobs on Dec. 2, 2015, when married couple Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire in a conference building at the complex during a holiday party and training session for San Bernardino County employees, who were Farook’s co-workers.

It was one of the deadliest acts of violence by militants in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks. Twenty-two people were also wounded in San Bernardino.

“It’s a day that marked all of our lives, it destroyed some lives, it destroyed families,” Zen Martinsen, 56, a county worker whose friend lost a niece in the shooting, told reporters after the ceremony. Martinsen worked at a different office.

The ceremony outside the large conference building, which has sat empty behind a chain link fence since the shooting, was one of a day-long series of events in San Bernardino.

San Bernardino County employees Zen Martinsen (L) and Paula Garcia (R), hug during a memorial event at the Inland Regional Center on the one year anniversary of the San Bernardino attack in San Bernardino,

San Bernardino County employees Zen Martinsen (L) and Paula Garcia (R), hug during a memorial event at the Inland Regional Center on the one year anniversary of the San Bernardino attack in San Bernardino, California, U.S. December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

A private ceremony was organized for family members of victims and survivors of the attack, according to San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert.

The U.S.-born Farook and Malik, a native of Pakistan, died in a shootout with police four hours after the massacre. Authorities have said they were inspired by Islamist extremism.

“Somebody that would take hate and internalize it to such a degree that they felt that they were going to do something that would promote their agenda at the expense of so many innocent people, I was certainly saddened by that,” San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis said on Friday.

FBI investigators are still seeking to answer key questions, such as the location of the married couple’s computer hard drive.

In another symbolic act on Friday, dozen of bicyclists, including many police officers, participated in a bicycle ride of 14 miles (23 km), one mile for each person killed.

In the evening, another San Bernardino event was expected to draw at least 2,000 participants to an arena.

(Additional reporting by Patrick Fallon; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)