National Security

FBI’s ‘Radical, Traditional Catholic’ Probe Was Wider Than Director Claimed, Newly Unredacted Document Shows

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into “radical, traditional Catholic” groups was wider than Bureau Director Christopher Wray claimed in his July testimony before Congress, according to an unredacted memo released by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Whistleblower Kyle Seraphin released a memo produced in January by the Bureau’s Richmond field office alleging that Catholics who reject the Second Vatican Council may be prone to “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” The FBI retracted the memo, and Wray told Committee chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio in July that the investigation was limited to a “single field office.” The bureau is also conducting an internal review.

According to an unredacted version of the memo, provided to the House Judiciary Committee in response to a subpoena, the FBI interacted with a “liaison contact with indirect access” in Portland, and operated an undercover agent in California. Those two sources, as well as the Richmond one, were connected with parishes linked to the Society of St. Pius X. SSPX was founded in 1988 by the since-excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and “does not possess a canonical status in the Church.”

Jordan and Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government chairman Mike Johnson are calling on Wray to amend his July 12 testimony and provide documents detailing communications between the Richmond and Portland field offices.

“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 lawmakers wrote.

The Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the memo in April, after the Bureau refused to comply with an initial document request. Jordan later threatened to hold Wray in contempt of Congress for lack of compliance with several document requests. The FBI produced the unredacted memo on July 25, according to the committee. (RELATED: FBI’s Targeting Of Traditional Catholics Is An ‘Affront’ To First Amendment, Jim Jordan Tells Daily Caller Editor)

“We look forward to receiving a briefing on the FBI’s internal review of this matter and to interviewing the Special Agent in Charge of the Richmond field office,” the congressmen added. “We again reiterate our outstanding requests, including our request to conduct a transcribed interview with the Chief Division Counsel who approved the Richmond document.”