Agent Admits IRS Spies With AI, Targets ‘Small People’

IRS logo | Image by Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock

Just as millions of Americans are facing tax season, an apparent IRS agent was caught on video admitting that the agency deliberately targets “the small people.”

According to a post on X by investigative journalist James O’Keefe, agent Alex Mena, a member of Criminal Investigations, says his fellow agents are “a**holes, all of them.”

When asked by an O’Keefe Media citizen journalist about the IRS’s use of artificial intelligence, Mena responded that the agency uses the technology to investigate people by accessing banking information.

“They can see the amount in your bank account, yes,” Mena said on the recording. The reporter then asked whether the action was Constitutionally permitted, to which Mena responded with a laugh, “I doubt it.”

Mena added that the AI is not directly in the control of the IRS, but is rather operated by the Department of Justice and the Inspector General.

“In six months, they were able to capture half a billion dollars,” Mena said. “[IRS agents] have no problem going after the small people, you know, putting people in prison, they have no problem doing that. They have no empathy; they are like robots.”

Mena recounted that when he joined the Criminal Investigation Unit, he was told by a senior agent that “the first person you shoot, you will remember. After that, you will shoot a hundred people, and you won’t remember any of them.”

Mena also said the IRS does not need evidence of wrongdoing to initiate an audit. Typically, audits are initiated due to “red flags,” such as inaccurate calculations, overestimating income, or unrealistic office expenses and charitable donations, according to Investopedia.

Mena adds that the IRS can “audit anyone they want.” He then explains how AI is used to identify potential targets for the Criminal Investigation Unit probe further.

“We have all the information from all the companies in the whole world, not just the United States,” Mena said. “So, the AI looks at all the returns, all the bank statements, looks at the books, and if it sees a potential for fraud, it knows there is a potential for fraud. A lot of people are not happy with it.”

Mena said that despite the use of the AI system to flag fraudulent individuals or users, most of the cases they currently get are due to someone “snitching” on someone else.

“Like, we get an anonymous tip that a huge corporation is overvaluing their assets by, like, $10 billion,” Mena shared.

O’Keefe points out in the video that federal law and the Supreme Court have upheld the right of the IRS to access bank records as part of investigations into fraud and money laundering.

Mena said the AI program is “working very well” toward that goal as a tool for the IRS to target individuals and corporations for fraud.

In November 2023, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to establish “new standards for AI safety and security” and to protect “Americans’ privacy.” The order directed actions to “evaluate how agencies collect and use commercially available information” and to “strengthen privacy guidelines for federal agencies.”

Still, the federal government has been subject to many accusations of overreach and invasion of U.S. citizens’ privacy, as reported by The Dallas Express. For instance, in investigating the January 6, 2021, protests at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI cast a sweeping dragnet to target people whose phones’ location data placed them near the building that day, regardless of whether their behavior was peaceful.

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