“We do not conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practices, full stop,” Wray said. “We have also now ordered our inspection division to take a look at how this happened and try to figure out how we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
In his letter to Wray, Jordan called the newly released information “shocking.”
“This information is outrageous and only reinforces the committee’s need for all FBI material responsive to our request,” Jordan wrote.
“The documents produced to date show how the FBI sought to enlist Catholic houses of worship as potential sources to monitor and report on their parishioners,” Jordan continued. “Americans attend church to worship and congregate for their spiritual and personal betterment. 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.”
Jordan added that a lot of information is still “unclear,” such as “how many FBI employees explored ‘new avenues for tripwire and source development’ in Catholic houses of worship across the country as a result of the FBI’s Richmond document.”
The FBI declined to comment on the new information revealed in the document but told CNA that it has received the subpoena and intends to cooperate with the subcommittee.
“The FBI recognizes the importance of congressional oversight and remains fully committed to cooperating with Congress’ oversight requests consistent with its constitutional and statutory responsibilities,” the statement read. “The FBI is actively working to respond to congressional requests for information — including voluntary production of documents.”
In February, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin demanded full transparency from the FBI memo that targeted Catholics in the Richmond Diocese. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares joined a letter with 19 other state attorneys general that requested the FBI provide all documents related to the production of the memo.
The memo was also condemned by Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout.
“People of all faith groups have long found refuge in the constitutional protections of our great nation,” the bishop’s statement read in part. “We all seek to share in God’s gift of life, enjoy the fruits of liberty that our nation offers, and assist one another in ensuring the common good.”
Tyler Arnold is a staff reporter for the National Catholic Register. He previously worked at The Center Square and has been published in a variety of outlets, including The Associated Press, National Review, The American Conservative and The Federalist.