House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Wednesday revealed details about the FBI’s disturbing plan to target U.S. Catholics as possible domestic terrorists. And the specifics vary greatly from the narrative the agency presented when confronted about the scheme.
According to the New York Post, the memo on traditional Catholics was said to have been limited to the Richmond Field Office in Virginia. That turned out to be incorrect.
The committee in July received a version of the memo that was less redacted. It showed that the Richmond field office operated in conjunction with a “liaison” with the Portland field office.
Information was also used from the Los Angeles field office. The agency action targeting Catholics was apparently more widespread than it initially revealed.
Jordan and another congressman sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray asking why this information was originally redacted from the document provided to the committee.
The letter declared that “it appears that both FBI Portland and FBI Los Angeles field offices were involved in or contributed to the creation of the FBI’s assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.”
Targeting people for their religious beliefs?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 10, 2023
In March, Wray explained to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the memo shocked him and that “we took steps immediately to withdraw it and remove it from FBI systems.”
At that time the FBI director said that the memo “was a product of one field office.” He noted that the bureau has “scores and scores” of these products, and upon its discovery the agency acted.
The new evidence, however, indicated that the push to target conservative Catholics for their beliefs was hardly limited to Richmond.
The FBI memo was titled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”
It touted the possibility of developing sources within the church.
The Wednesday letter offered Wray a chance to “amend your testimony” in light of new information about the scope of the FBI’s assessment. In a statement to the Post, the FBI said that Wray’s testimony before Congress had been “accurate and consistent.”
The statement denied the agency conducts investigations based on religious affiliations or any other First Amendment protected practices. Instead, the bureau said it limits its scope to “violence, threats of violence and violations of federal law.”