House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has issued a subpoena for Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Ray after his committee previously received a memo detailing the FBI’s targeting of Catholic Americans.
Jordan appeared on Fox News Monday to talk about these alleged potential First Amendment violations by the FBI, noting that the Biden Department of Justice was “looking to put sources in churches, have informants in Catholic parishes.” The congressman alleged the FBI forwarded its memo to field offices all over the nation and argued that had it not been for the whistleblower, the initiative would likely still be ongoing.
— GOP (@GOP) April 11, 2023
The Right Scoop reported that the initial whistleblower suggested that the FBI planned to send agents after Catholic churches that hold the traditional Latin Mass.
Now, a new set of documents released by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday found that the FBI sought out targets at Christian churches and Catholic dioceses in a supposed attempt to fight against domestic terrorism.
These files, received by Jordan along with fellow Weaponization Subcommittee member Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), revealed the FBI plotted to utilize churches as “new avenues for tripwire and source development.” The group notably set its horizons on “mainline Catholic parishes.”
“Based on the limited information produced by the FBI to the Committee, 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 stated in a letter addressed to Wray on Monday.
Jordan additionally characterized the FBI’s conduct as “outrageous” and stressed that it “only reinforces” the necessity for all requests of FBI material from his committee to be honored.
“Americans attend church to worship and congregate for their spiritual and personal betterment,” continued Jordan’s letter. “They must be free to exercise their fundamental First Amendment rights without worrying that the FBI may have planted so-called ‘tripwire’ sources or other informants in their houses of worship.”
Speaking during a recent congressional testimony, Wray insisted the targeted investigation “does not reflect FBI standards,” and added that the organization does not “conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practices.”
Many U.S. representatives are not convinced. Republican lawmakers have joined Jordan in issuing widespread condemnation against the FBI, often claiming its actions have likely violated the U.S. Constitution.