Washington D.C., Jul 13, 2023 / 13:00 pm
Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday pressed FBI director Chris Wray on a leaked memo from the bureau’s Richmond division that described an investigation into Catholic communities.
The internal memo, dated Jan. 23 and leaked to the press on Feb. 8, outlines a Richmond FBI’s investigation of “radical-traditionalist” Catholics. It claimed that violent extremists have “sought out and attended traditional Catholic houses of worship” and suggested “trip wire or source development” within churches that offer the Latin Mass and “radical-traditionalist” Catholic online communities.
“That’s pretty fancy language for ‘they’re trying to put informants in the parish, in the church,’” House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Wray during a nearly six-hour-long committee hearing Wednesday.
Wray acknowledged that he was “aghast” when the memo came to his attention and immediately “ordered it withdrawn and removed from FBI systems.” He noted that it was the production of one field office and not the FBI as a whole.