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Jordan demands answers from FBI director on memo depicting Catholics as 'violent extremists'

Following a rescinded FBI memo targeting certain Catholics, House Judiciary Republicans are following up to demand answers from the bureau's director.

February 16, 2023 12:16pm

Updated: February 16, 2023 3:45pm

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan on Thursday asked FBI Director Christopher Wray for additional information about an agency memo depicting Catholics as "violent extremists" – part of ongoing committee probe into whether the FBI is using Domestic Violent Extremism resources for "political purposes." 

"The committee on the Judiciary is continuing to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of domestic violent extremism investigations," reads the letter sent by Jordan and fellow committee member Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican.

"Over the last year, we have written to you several times about startling allegations that the FBI is misusing [Domestic Violent Extremism] resources for apparent political purposes.

"Since those letters, new information has become public about the FBI's targeting of a set of Catholic Americans for their religious beliefs. We therefore write to request additional information about this serious misuse of federal law-enforcement resources." 

The memo in question was filed in the FBI's Richmond Field Office. FBI headquarters said the memo was immediately removed upon its discovery. It attempted to link "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists" with "radical-traditionalist Catholic" ideology.

The memo also allegedly distinguish what it called "traditional Catholics" from the RTC adherents, whom the FBI characterized as embracing "anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology," according to the Jordan-Johnson letter.

The congressmen, in the letter, also criticized the sources used to support the memo – including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Salon and The Atlantic. 

"The SPLC misleadingly defines RTCs as 'the largest group of serious anti-Semites in America' and believes to have identified nine RTC 'hate group'  across the United States," the letter reads.

The committee, in the letter, requests four sets of documents and materials by March 2 including "a list of all FBI employees involved in drafting, reviewing, approving, or disseminating the January 23 memo.

You can follow Nick on Twitter @NGivasDC

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