House Judiciary Committee: ‘Multiple FBI field offices’ collaborated over anti-Catholic memo

FBI Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday claimed to have uncovered evidence of “multiple” field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation coordinating an investigation into traditionalist Catholics earlier this year.

A leaked memo from the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, field office, published on the internet in February of this year, discussed investigating “radical traditionalist” Catholics who the bureau alleged may have been part of a “far-right white nationalist movement.” 

The memo generated blowback from U.S. bishops, attorneys general, and elected officials on Capitol Hill. Senators and U.S. representatives over the past several months have grilled both Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Chris Wray over the controversy. 

The GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee has been leading an investigation into the FBI’s actions in Richmond. Last month Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the committee, threatened to hold Wray in contempt if he did not produce unredacted copies of subpoenaed materials related to the inquiry.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee revealed that “information recently produced to the committee” showed that the FBI “relied on information from around the country … to develop its assessment” that some traditionalist Catholics could potentially be domestic terrorists. 

The information in question, according to the press release, came from FBI officials in the bureau’s Portland field office as well as intelligence from the agency’s Los Angeles office. 

Jordan in a letter to Wray on Wednesday said the new information indicates the FBI’s Catholic investigation was “more widespread than initially suspected.” The new details also revealed what Jordan claimed were “inconsistencies” in Wray’s earlier testimony before Congress.

Wray had previously claimed that the Catholic memo was “a single product by a single field office.”

Jordan in the letter issued a fresh round of subpoenas related to the investigation, including communications between the Richmond, Portland, and Los Angeles field offices as well as any “intelligence products” related to those collaborations.

Jordan gave Wray until Aug. 23 to respond to the demands. 

The FBI had handed a new round of subpoenaed documents over to the committee at the end of last month.

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