Jordan subpoenas FBI director for documents over withdrawn memo on Catholic churches

Jordan subpoenas FBI director for documents over withdrawn memo on Catholic churches


House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan issued a subpoena to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday for documents as House Republicans investigate the circumstances surrounding a since-withdrawn memo from the bureau’s Richmond field office that focused on extremism in the Catholic Church.

This probe, led by Jordan and conducted out of his subcommittee tasked with investigating alleged “weaponization” of the federal government, was spurred by a January 23 document generated by the FBI’s Richmond field office titled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”

Jordan claims that the leaked internal memo suggests that certain Catholic Americans were targeted by the FBI and could be considered domestic terrorists and accused the FBI of seeking “to enlist Catholic houses of worship as potential sources to monitor and report on their parishioners.”

An FBI spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment regarding the subpoena, but they previously told CNN that, “While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, this particular field office product – disseminated only within the FBI – regarding racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI.”

The spokesperson added that upon learning of the document, “FBI Headquarters quickly began taking action to remove the document from FBI systems and conduct a review of the basis for the document.”

Monday’s subpoena comes after the FBI produced 18 pages from an initial voluntary request made in February.

Jordan writes that those pages had “significant redactions,” but claims that the panel has learned that the FBI relied on information from an undercover agent and proposed that agents reach out to Catholic parishes to develop sources to probe extremism.

“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,” Jordan wrote in the subpoena letter.

“This shocking information reinforces our need for all responsive documents, and the Committee is issuing a subpoena to you to compel your full cooperation.”


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