The chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, is shocked and wants to know more about the FBI’s proposal to place spies inside Catholic churches to sniff out what they are calling “violent extremists” who they also claim may be prone to domestic terrorism.
Jordan has sent a subpoena to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agency chief send all records relating to a recent leak of a Bureau internal memo dated Jan. 23 that details the spy program on Catholics, according to the Epoch Times.
“Based on the limited information produced by the FBI to the Committee, we now know that the FBI relied on at least one undercover agent to produce its analysis, and that the FBI proposed that its agents engage in outreach to Catholic parishes to develop sources among the clergy and church leadership to inform on Americans practicing their faith,” Jordan wrote to Wray. “This shocking information reinforces our need for all responsive documents, and the Committee is issuing a subpoena to you to compel your full cooperation.”
In a series of tweets, the House Weaponization of Government Committee pronounced its outrage at the spy operation that would clearly present “serious consequences for the free exercise of Americans’ First Amendment rights” and free religious expression.
-This proposed outreach plan included contacting so-called “mainline Catholic parishes” and the local “diocesan leadership.”
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) April 10, 2023
-In light of this information and the serious consequences for the free exercise of Americans’ First Amendment rights, Chairman Jordan issued a subpoena today to FBI Director Wray for all documents related to the FBI’s actions.
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) April 10, 2023
The FBI memo detailing the need for the spy program and its description was originally published by the website UncoverDC by former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin.
The memo, Seraphin noted, claimed that the spy program was needed to protect America from supposed “white supremacists” and was centered on tracking down and surveilling Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass.
“An intelligence analyst within the Richmond Field Office of the FBI released in a new finished intelligence product dated January 23, 2023, on Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE) and their interests in ‘Radical-Traditionalist Catholics’ or RTCs,” Seraphin wrote.
Seraphin’s post also revealed screenshots of the official documents distributed inside the FBI that seemed to rely on claims by the thoroughly repudiated and anti-Christian, left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center which has deemed RTCs to be extremists akin to domestic terrorists and white supremacists.
“Radical-traditionalist Catholics compose a small minority of overall Roman Catholic adherents and are separate and distinct from ‘traditionalist Catholics’ who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings and traditions, without the more extremist ideological beliefs and violent rhetoric,” the report added.
The FBI Richmond office report also alleged that there is an “ongoing convergence of the far-right white nationalists’ movement and RTCs” that was “further demonstrated through the increase in hostility toward abortion rights advocates on social media sites in the lead up to and the aftermath of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade” since last summer.
Once Seraphin’s report was published, the FBI quickly disavowed the memo and said it is not contemplating the implementation of the domestic spy operation.
“Upon learning of the document, FBI Headquarters quickly began taking action to remove the document from FBI systems and conduct a review of the basis for the document,” the FBI National Press Office stated in a press release sent to the media, Epoch Times added. “The FBI is committed to sound analytic tradecraft and to investigating and preventing acts of violence and other crimes while upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”
Wray also personally repudiated the memo in testimony in March before the Senate Intelligence Committee, insisting that the Bureau was looking into the memo and how it got written and released.
“We’re also taking steps to reinforce with our workforce all of the long-standing policies we have that speak to this kind of thing. We’ve got refresher training for the relevant employees, etc. And we do not and will not target people for religious beliefs, and we do not and will not monitor people’s religious practices,” Wray stated.
But Jordan is not convinced by these blithe proclamations after the fact.
“Although the FBI claims to have ‘numerous’ and ‘rigorous’ policies to protect First Amendment rights, the FBI’s Richmond document plainly undercuts these assertions,” Jordan said. “The document itself shows that its contents, including its proposal to develop sources in Catholic churches, were reviewed and approved by two senior intelligence analysts and even the local Chief Division Counsel.”
He added that it was shocking that the FBI planned to enlist the assistance of “mainline Catholic parishes” and “diocesan leadership” and intended to “[leverage] existing sources and/or [initiating] Type 5 Assessments to develop new sources with the placement and access” to report on supposedly suspicious activity.
“Americans attend church to worship and congregate for their spiritual and personal betterment,” Jordan added. “They must be free to exercise their fundamental First Amendment rights without worrying that the FBI may have planted so-called ‘tripwire’ sources or other informants in their houses of worship.”
Jordan also said that the memo was not isolated to the Richmond offices, but was passed around to FBI satraps all across the nation.
Seraphin ultimately blasted the memo, writing, “The FBI is forbidden from opening cases or publishing products based solely on First Amendment-protected activities. By tolerating the publishing of intelligence products as shoddy as this, they are crossing a line many Americans will find themselves on the wrong side of for the first time in history. This is what a politicalized FBI looks like; it should not be tolerated if Americans expect to enjoy the protections of our Bill of Rights.”
This is only one of two reports showing that the FBI is looking to spy on Americans after a report that found an FBI guidance document claiming that people who use common Internet lingo such as “red pill,” and “base” are possibly “violent extremists,” the Daily Signal reported this week.
Seraphin is exactly right, though. This is just more evidence that the federal government is targeting parents, Christians, white people, and patriots while ignoring the actual terroristic actions of Black Lives Matter, transgender cultists, Antifa, environmentalism extremists, and even radical Islamists, for that matter.
The FBI needs to answer for its radical and politically motivated attacks on law-abiding Americans.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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