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Lawmakers uncover evidence multiple FBI offices involved in anti-Catholic memo, contradicting Wray

Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan says new evidence contradicts Wray's testimony the actions were limited to “a single field office."

Published: August 9, 2023 1:57pm

Updated: August 9, 2023 6:27pm

The House Judiciary Committee unveiled newly subpoeaned evidence Wednesday that multiple FBI offices were involved with a memo targeting traditional Catholics as domestic terrorists, directly challenging the testimony of Director Christopher Wray in the latest dust-up between Congress and the nation's premier law enforcement agency.

Wray had testified that the memo was isolated to the work of the FBI office in Richmond and he repudiated the behavior, but Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said new evidence his investigators received suggested other office were involved, including Los Angeles and Portland.

"Remember the FBI Richmond Field Office memo targeting Catholics as terrorists?" Jordan asked on the X- platform formally known as Twitter. "Director Wray testified that it was only 'a single field office' doing so. Well, a newly subpoenaed document shows otherwise. It looks like FBI Portland & FBI Los Angeles were also involved."

Jordan (R-Ohio) and Subcommittee Chairman Mike Johnson (R-La.) sent a letter to Wray, requesting communications between the FBI Richmond Field Office and other offices it was in contact with regarding the memo, including the Portland and Los Angeles offices. 

"In fact, the new document—a lesser-redacted version of the anti-Catholic memo—explicitly shows that both FBI Portland and FBI Los Angeles field offices were involved in or contributed to the creation of the FBI's assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists," the letter stated. 

"We look forward to receiving a briefing on the FBI’s internal review of this matter and to interviewing the Special Agent in Charge of the Richmond Field Office," the letter later continues. "However, we again reiterate our outstanding requests, including our request to conduct a transcribed interview with the Chief Division Counsel who approved the Richmond document."

You can read the letter here:

Earlier this year, the Richmond Field Office put out a now-retracted January memo that characterized Catholics who attend traditional Latin Mass as potential violent extremists.

Jordan and Johnson requested Wray deliver the requested evidence no later than August 23, 2023.

“Director Wray’s testimony on this matter has been accurate and consistent. While the document referred to information from other field office investigations of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremist (RMVE) subjects, that does not change the fact the product was produced by a single office," the FBI told Just the News in a statement. "The FBI investigates violence, threats of violence, and violations of federal law. We do not conduct investigations based solely on religious affiliations or practices, or any other First Amendment protected activity."

"To be clear: the document was a domain perspective which is an intelligence product designed to address potential threats in a particular area—in this case, the Richmond Field Office’s area of responsibility," the statement continued. "Because the product failed to meet 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.”

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