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EXCLUSIVE: House Committee on the Weaponization of Government DEMANDS answers on FBI targeting Catholics

Post Millennial: Libby Emmons

The House Committee on the Weaponization of Government is investigating the FBI's recent targeting of Catholics, as was evidenced by a leaked bulletin from the Richmond office. That memo, which stated that Catholics who prefer Latin Mass who are "Radical-Traditionalist Catholics," painted them as having an "adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology." 

Now Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Johnson are demanding answers as to why the FBI, using sources from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, Salon magazine, and The Atlantic, would target Americans as domestic extremists for the practicing of their religion.

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Committee on the Judiciary demanded that the FBI account for its "handling of domestic violent extremism investigations." This is their second attempt to gain answers from Wray, who "failed to acknowledge or respond substantively to the requests" in their previous letter.

Wray, they say, and the FBI, engaged in a "misuse of law-enforcement resources" in issuing a bulleting attacking Catholics and painting them as domestic extremists simply for practicing their religion. The FBI's reasoning, per the bulletin, was that Catholics who practice Latin Mass, which was banned after the Second Vatican Council, are "Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists," and it assessed "with 'high confidence' [that] the FBI can mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics by recruiting sources within the Catholic Church."

While the FBI later said that they withdrew the bulletin, the damage was likely done. They retracted the bulletin, saying that it did "not meet the exacting standards of the FBI."

"Although the FBI withdrew this anti-Catholic document following severe backlash," the letter continues, "many questions remain about the genesis, review, and approval of this document, as well as the FBI’s commitment to upholding First Amendment-protected activity."

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte spoke before the Subcommittee on Responsiveness and Accountability to Oversight, on March 9, and reiterated that claim, stating that the document "did not meet our standard at all. It was offensive to me personally, and as the Attorney General said last week, it was offensive to him."

Uriarte also testified that "being responsive to Congress" is a "significant priority" to the Attorney General's office, and told the Subcommittee at that time that the documents would be "forthcoming soon." 

Apparently, that has not happened, and has certainly not happened to the satisfaction of the Judiciary Committee.