FBI interviewed priest and church choir director ahead of anti-Catholic memo, House Arms Committee finds – LSB

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First on Fox: The FBI interviewed a priest and a church choir director as part of its investigation into traditional Catholics, a House Arms Committee report obtained by Fox News Digital revealed, specifying that subpoena documents show that “there was no legitimate basis for the warrant to include federal law enforcement.” In Catholic places of worship.

The House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on Arming the Federal Government investigated the FBI’s designation of certain American Catholics as potential domestic terrorists following an internal FBI memo in Richmond titled “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists’ Interest in Traditionalist Extremists.” Catholic ideology almost certainly offers new opportunities for mitigation.

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That memo, which leaked in January, named him a “traditional extremist Catholic.”[s]as “potential racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” and said that “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) in the Radical Traditional Catholic (RTC) ideology certainly represent opportunities to mitigate the threat by exploring new avenues of tripwires and sources.” Development.”

But according to the report, first obtained by Fox News Digital on Monday, the committee found that the FBI “abused its counterterrorism tools to target American Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.”

“The committee and select subcommittee discovered that the FBI relied on at least one undercover agent to develop its assessment, and the FBI even suggested developing sources among Catholic clergy and church leadership,” the report said. “The FBI not only proposed developing sources, but actually interviewed a priest and choir director of a Catholic church in Richmond, Virginia, in order to prepare the memo.”

The whistleblower’s revelations reveal that an FBI interview with a priest and choir director of a Catholic church in Richmond, Virginia, was used “to inform about parishioners under investigation,” the committee said.

The committee also said that without disclosure of the whistleblower, the memo “would remain in effect in FBI systems, violating the religious freedoms of millions of American Catholics.”

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The committee found that “errors” occurred “at every step of the process of drafting, reviewing, approving, and deleting the memorandum.”

The report also states that the basis for the Richmond memo “relyed on a single investigation in the Richmond Field Office’s area of ​​responsibility, in which the individual described himself as a traditional extremist Catholic.” But the committee found that FBI employees “were unable to determine the meaning of the RTC when preparing, editing, or reviewing the memo.”

“However, this single investigation became the basis for an FBI-wide memo warning of the dangers of ‘extremist’ Catholics,” the report said.

UNITED STATES – JULY 12: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “FBI Oversight” at the Rayburn Building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Photos GT) (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“While the FBI claims it ‘does not classify investigations as domestic terrorism based on the religious beliefs — to include Catholicism — of the subject in question, an FBI-wide memorandum issued by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office did just that,” it reads. The report… “Under the guise of addressing the domestic terrorism threat, the memo portrayed some “traditional extremist Catholics” as violent extremists and suggested opportunities for the FBI to infiltrate Catholic churches as a form of “threat mitigation.”

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But the FBI denied conducting an investigation based on religion and maintained that when the memo was discovered, it was removed from the FBI’s systems.

The FBI said it was “investigating acts of violence, threats of violence, and violations of federal law.”

“We do not conduct investigations based solely on religious affiliations or practices, or any other activity protected under the First Amendment,” the FBI said in a statement.

“To be clear, the document was a Domain Perspective which is an intelligence product designed to address potential threats in a specific area — in this case, the Richmond Field Office’s area of ​​responsibility. Because the product failed to meet the requirements,” the FBI said. According to FBI standards, it was quickly removed from all FBI systems and a review was launched to determine how it was produced in the first place.

Jim Jordan, committee

Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, center, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. FBI Director Wray testifies before the committee amid calls from some hardline conservatives for his ouster . (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On July 25, the FBI released a version of Richmond’s document with fewer redactions than the previous two versions it had provided. That version revealed that investigations into Catholic organizations in Los Angeles and Portland fueled the Richmond office’s memo. The report states that the Milwaukee FBI was also involved.

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Meanwhile, documents the committee obtained under the subpoena show that “the FBI has identified Americans who are pro-life and pro-family, and support the biological basis of gender and sex discrimination, as potential domestic terrorists,” the report said.

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