The FBI used an undercover employee to inform its leaked analysis on domestic extremism among Catholic Americans, House Judiciary Committee Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan revealed in a letter addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to Wray on Monday requesting records relating to its probe into the FBI’s “domestic violent extremism investigations against Catholic Americans,” CBS News reported. The investigation was initiated after the leak of a Jan. 23 FBI Richmond Field Office memo suggesting Roman Catholic groups who prefer the Latin mass are at risk of “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.”
Jordan said requests were made for additional information and documents on Feb. 16 and March 20. On March 23, the FBI provided a “substandard and partial” 18-page response, which revealed the FBI relied on “at least one undercover agent” when producing the Jan. 23 document.
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I specifically asked Merrick Garland whether the FBI was targeting Catholic parishes and he said no. Now it turns out the FBI was using undercover sources in multiple parishes https://t.co/NZMkIXEN47
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 10, 2023
“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,” the letter says.
Documents produced by the FBI reportedly show it desired “to sensitize the congregation to the warning signs of radicalization and enlist their assistance to serve as suspicious activity tripwires,” according to the letter.
This information reinforced the Committee’s need for “all FBI material responsive” to its request without redactions, the letter continued.
The subpoena was issued in response to Wray’s alleged “disregard” for the Committee’s voluntary requests.
The FBI confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that it received the subpoena and is working to respond to the records requests.
“The FBI recognizes the importance of congressional oversight and remains fully committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests consistent with its constitutional and statutory responsibilities,” the Bureau said in a statement. “The FBI is actively working to respond to congressional requests for information including voluntary production of documents.”
In a March 8 testimony, Wray told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI took action to remove the document from its systems, stating the Bureau “will not target people for religious beliefs” and does not “monitor people’s religious practices,” the FBI also noted.
When questioned by Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley during a March 1 hearing, Attorney General Merrick Garland also called the memo “appalling” and assured that the FBI “does not do investigations based on religion.”
He also stated that he did not believe there were “any informants aimed at Catholic churches.”