August 10, 2023

Yes, the FBI Targeted Catholics

A newly revealed FBI document shows that the bureau’s interest in “radical-traditionalist Catholics” wasn’t limited to a single rogue memo.

A month ago, FBI Director Chris Wray’s congressional testimony was clear: The FBI wasn’t targeting Catholics. Now, though, it seems he was either sleeping at the switch or lying.

On July 12, Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the now-infamous Richmond memo — a document produced in January by the bureau’s Richmond field office exploring “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism in radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology” and discussed “new mitigation opportunities” therein — was a wacky one-off and wasn’t to be taken seriously. Under questioning from House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, Wray said the memo represented “a single product by a single field office, which, as soon as I found out about it, I was aghast and ordered it withdrawn and removed from FBI systems.”

He was aghast, he tells us, aghast.

As it turns, though, the Richmond memo wasn’t the singularity Wray wanted us to believe it was. As The Daily Signal’s Tyler O'Neil reports, “FBI Director Christopher Wray may have lied under oath concerning the FBI Richmond office’s Jan. 23 memo citing the Southern Poverty Law Center in urging investigation of ‘radical traditional Catholic hate groups,’ Rep. Jim Jordan suggested in a letter sent Wednesday.”

We know what you’re wondering: What on earth is a “radical-traditionalist Catholic,” and why on earth is the ostensibly apolitical FBI taking its investigative cues from the deeply disgraced hard-left scumbags at the SPLC? We’re wondering the same thing. But first things first: back to the supposedly anomalous nature of the Richmond memo, and to Jordan’s suggestion yesterday that the director’s sworn testimony was, ahem, inconsistent with the facts. Here’s the intro paragraph of his letter to Wray:

The Committee on the Judiciary is continuing to conduct oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists. From information recently produced to the Committee, we now know that the FBI relied on information from around the country — including a liaison contact in the FBI’s Portland Field Office and reporting from the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office — to develop its assessment. This new information suggests that the FBI’s use of its law enforcement capabilities to intrude on American’s First Amendment rights is more widespread than initially suspected and reveals inconsistencies with your previous testimony before the Committee. Given this startling new information, we write to request additional information to advance our oversight.

So the director was aghast, and now the chairman is startled. Something’s got to give. One thing that likely won’t give, however, is a perjury rap against Wray. Not that it wouldn’t be both welcomed and warranted, but lying is what folks do in Washington — whether it’s Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Merrick Garland or Alejandro Mayorkas or John Brennan or Jim Clapper or Adam Schiff — and no one ever seems to be held to account. So we’re not holding our breath on Wray. But to the extent that Jordan and a handful of intrepid FBI whistleblowers can fully uncover the bureau’s underhandedness and its duplicity, we’re all for it.

And to those who warn us to be careful what we wish for regarding Wray — that he was a Trump appointee, and that if he’s forced out he’ll be replaced by a leftist director of Joe Biden’s choice — we say this: We’d rather have an out-and-out enemy of liberty in charge of the bureau than a smarmy, irresolute, duplicitous, pencil-pushing “Republican” who gives off a phony whiff of centrist credibility to the director’s role. Wray and his predecessors, Comey and McCabe, have wrecked the bureau and destroyed the people’s confidence in it. He deserves to go in disgrace.

Think about it: If it weren’t for the FBI having rigged the 2020 election on behalf of Joe Biden, Donald Trump would be 30 months into his second term, and the world would look a lot different than it does now. So would our southern border. And our streets. And our military. And our energy supply. And our economy.

And, if you’re retired or nearing that age, so would your 401(k).

Perhaps you’re not Catholic. And perhaps you haven’t been paying much attention to the Biden administration’s targeting of devout practitioners of the faith. Perhaps you weren’t overly concerned about the Biden Justice Department’s refusal to hunt down and hold responsible the violent thugs who’ve been torching pro-life outreach centers across the nation. And perhaps you weren’t overly concerned with the FBI’s targeting and making examples of decent, peaceful, law-abiding pro-life protesters such as Mark Houck, who ultimately beat the bureau’s bad rap in court, but who, along with his wife and seven children, went through hell along the way.

Perhaps not. But you should be. First they came for the Catholics, but I wasn’t Catholic, so

In the end, Chris Wray and his chums on the J. Edgar Hoover building’s seventh floor deserve to be thoroughly exposed for their anti-Catholic bigotry and their anti-Republican bigotry and all the rest of it. The thousands of good and decent patriots among the FBI’s 35,000 employees deserve nothing less.

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