Subpoenaed Document Reveals FBI's Targeting of Traditional Catholics Was 'More Widespread Than Initially Suspected'


The House Judiciary Committee released a document Wednesday that appeared to contradict earlier statements by FBI director Christopher Wray that only one isolated FBI field office set out to target Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.

Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio confronted Wray with the evidence in a letter posted on the House website and also shared on social media.

The social media post summed up the situation: “Subpoenaed document reveals that the FBI Richmond Field Office coordinated with MULTIPLE field offices across the country to produce a memo targeting traditional Catholics as domestic terrorists,” it read.

“Wray previously said the actions were limited to ‘a single field office.’”

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The committee attached a copy of its letter to Wray, saying, “From information recently produced to the Committee, we now know that the FBI relied on information from around the country — including a liaison contact in the FBI’s Portland Field Office and reporting from the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office — to develop its assessment.

“This new information suggests that the FBI’s use of its law enforcement capabilities to intrude on American’s First Amendment rights is more widespread than initially suspected and reveals inconsistencies with your previous testimony before the Committee.

“Given this startling new information, we write to request additional information to advance our oversight.”

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The letter cited an FBI document dated January 23, 2023, which was titled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”

The letter indicated that, after threats of contempt proceedings, the bureau provided a copy of what it now refers to as “the Richmond document” that contained fewer redactions than previous versions.

“This new version shows that the FBI’s actions were not just limited to ‘a single field office,’ as you [Wray] testified to the Committee,” the letter declared.

“Most concerning of all the newly produced version of the document explicitly states that FBI Richmond ‘[c]oordinated with’ FBI Portland in preparing the assessment. Thus, it appears that both FBI Portland and FBI Los Angeles field offices were involved in or contributed to the creation of FBI’s assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.”

The letter concludes with demands for additional FBI documents and communications related to the case, to be provided to the committee by Aug. 25.

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The Wall Street Journal, in a Wednesday opinion piece by its editorial board, was critical of the FBI’s actions in the incident, saying “The [FBI] agents relied on half-baked ‘open-source’ reporting from liberal outlets to justify more bureau investigation.”

The outlet quoted FBI director Christopher Wray as claiming in July that “the Richmond document” was “a single product by a single field office,” and that the director had claimed to be “aghast” when he found out about it.

“[I] ordered it withdrawn and removed from FBI systems,” Wray told the House committee in July, according to the report.

“It’s hard not to conclude that the bureau was trying to hide the breadth of its Catholics-as-radicals investigation,” the Journal editors wrote.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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