Security experts — including the NYPD’s former top cop — ripped Bank of America for reportedly handing over customer data to the feds probing the Capitol riots, warning Saturday of a “fishing expedition” that was chilling in its overreach.
The bank handed over financial data 211 of its clients who happened to use credit and debit cards for lodging, food and other purchases in Washington in the days before and after the Jan. 6 siege, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reported.
“That’s just not a good reason to hand over private information. If that’s the way they do business now, then the people of this country really have something to worry about,” said Bernard Kerik, a security consultant who headed the NYPD in 2000 and 2001.
Kerik said that during his time with the NYPD, the department did seek information about suspects from financial institutions, in particular during terror probes.
The distinction, he noted, was that the department always had a specific suspect in mind when it sought the data, said Kerik, who tweeted “Move over Russia, China and Venezuela,” when the news broke.
“I am sure there were people who had nothing to do with the Capitol riots and were profiled as well just because they went to the ATM in Washington,” Kerik told The Post.
Only one person among the 211 who had their information snooped has been interviewed by the feds, and none have been arrested, according to Fox.
Former NYPD sergeant Joseph Giacalone likened the fed probe to a “fishing expedition” in the absence of a subpoena or specific targets.
Giacalone too said he sought information from banks in homicide cases — but only after a suspect was targeted.
“If it was an emergency, we had a ‘riding DA’ on call who could write up a subpoena on the spot,” said Giacalone, adding that banking and credit card information could determine the accuracy of a suspect’s alibi.
“For instance, a person was murdered and their ATM or credit card was used, there may be surveillance video of them individual using it,” he said.
The FBI did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment, and Bank of America refused to say whether they were complying with a federal subpoena.
“We don’t comment on our communications with law enforcement,” said spokesman William Halldin, repeating an earlier statement by the country’s second largest bank, which is now facing growing calls for a boycott.
He added: “All banks have responsibilities under federal law to cooperate with law enforcement inquiries in full compliance with the law.”
Under the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions must cooperate with law enforcement in money laundering, terrorism cases “and other criminal acts.”
Companies such as Apple and Google, have in the past refused to cooperate with federal authorities.
In 2016, Apple refused to help the FBI unlock a phone that belonged to a suspected terrorist.
“At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people and setting dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said when he refused to help unlock an iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of two shooters in the 2015 San Bernardino attack which killed 14 people and injured 22.