The House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government have been conducting an investigation into the FBI's targeting of certain Catholic Americans as potential domestic terrorists. This comes after an internal FBI memo, titled "Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities," was leaked in January. The memo identified "radical-traditionalist Catholic[s]" as potential "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists" and proposed using undercover agents and developing sources within the Catholic Church to gather information.
However, a House Weaponization Committee report obtained by Fox News Digital has revealed that there was "no legitimate basis" for the FBI's actions and that they "abused its counterterrorism tools" to target Catholic Americans. The report stated that the FBI had even interviewed a priest and a church choir director as part of their investigation into traditional Catholics. It also found that the FBI had proposed developing sources among the Catholic leadership and that the interview was used to "inform on the parishioner under investigation."
The FBI interviewed a priest & church choir director as part of its investigation into traditional Catholics, while determining that subpoenaed documents show that there “was no legitimate basis” for the memo to insert federal law enforcement into churcheshttps://t.co/bnrW4dtimT
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 4, 2023
The committee stated in their report that without whistleblower disclosures, the memo would still be in use and would continue to violate the religious liberties of millions of Catholic Americans. They also found errors at every step of the drafting, review, approval, and removal process of the memorandum. The basis of the memo relied on a single investigation in the Richmond Field Office's area of responsibility in which the subject "self-described" as a "radical-traditionalist Catholic," but FBI employees could not even define what that meant.
The report further highlighted that the FBI's actions were not based on legitimate concerns for national security or public safety, but rather targeting certain religious beliefs and practices. In fact, the FBI had singled out Americans who are pro-life, pro-family, and support the biological basis for sex and gender distinction as potential domestic terrorists. This raised concerns among Catholic Americans and raised questions about the FBI's intentions and motivations.
The FBI has denied conducting investigations based on religion, stating that the memo was quickly removed from their systems and that an internal review found no malicious intent. However, the committee's report counters this, stating that the FBI's actions were a clear targeting of certain religious beliefs and practices, and were done under the guise of tackling the threat of domestic terrorism.
#FBI interviewed a priest and a church choir director as part of its investigation into traditional Catholics, while determining that subpoenaed docs show that there “was no legitimate basis for the memorandum to insert federal law enforcement into Catholic houses of worship.”… pic.twitter.com/ZBTd4uIkeN
— 🇺🇲Salty Texan (@texan_maga) December 4, 2023
On July 25, the FBI produced a version of the memo with fewer redactions, which revealed that investigations in Los Angeles and Portland were also involved. The report also mentioned that the documents obtained by the committee's subpoena showed that the FBI has targeted Americans who hold certain religious beliefs and values as potential domestic terrorists.
The FBI stated that they are committed to upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and do not conduct investigations based solely on First Amendment protected activity. However, their actions have raised concerns among Catholic Americans and have shed a light on the potential abuse of power within the agency. The House Weaponization Committee is expected to continue their investigation and hold the FBI accountable for their actions.