Judiciary Chair Jordan demands answers from Wray after leaked Anti-Catholic FBI memo
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding answers from FBI Director Christopher Wray as part of the panel's investigation into the bureau's alleged misuse of domestic violent extremism resources for "political purposes," after a leaked internal memo revealed the FBI had efforts underway to identify and treat some Catholics as violent extremists.
In a letter to Wray obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, Jordan demanded that the FBI turn over documents and records related to a Jan. 23, 2023 document from the FBI's Richmond Field Office that linked "'racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists' with a 'radical-traditionalist Catholic' ideology."
"The Committee on the Judiciary is continuing to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of domestic violent extremism [DVE] investigations," Jordan wrote. The top Republican on the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., also signed onto the letter.
Jordan said he and committee Republicans have written to the FBI "several times" over the last year about "startling allegations that the FBI is misusing DVE resources for apparent political purposes."
Since then, Jordan said new information has become public about the FBI's "targeting of a set of Catholic Americans for their religious beliefs" - specifically referencing the Jan. 23 memo, which was leaked by a whistleblower earlier this month.
"In this document, the FBI purported to distinguish what it called 'traditional Catholics' from the disfavored RTC [radical-traditionalist Catholic] adherents, who the FBI characterized as embracing 'anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology," Jordan wrote. He added that the FBI "even identified certain public policy issues - such as immigration and life issues - that it believed would 'catalyze' RTC adherents."
Jordan said the memo not only attempts to "separate and categorize Catholic Americans based on theological distinctions," but said the FBI "underscored the political nature of its actions."
The memo stated that "FBI Richmond assesses RMVE [racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists] interest in RTCs is likely to increase over the next 12 or 24 months in the run-up to the next general election cycle."
Jordan said the FBI's document cites "biased and partisan sources, including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Salon, and The Atlantic, to support its assessment."
Jordan said the SPLC "identifies the broad term 'Christian identity' as a hate group - a term that could arguably encompass millions of Americans with sincerely held religious beliefs."
"The fact that the FBI would blindly accept and regurgitate the SPLC's spin is highly concerning and undercuts the FBI's assertion that it is unbiased and politically neutral," Jordan wrote.
The FBI ultimately withdrew the document and blamed the local level Richmond Field Office for its creation and dissemination, but Jordan is demanding answers on the genesis of the document, review, and approval of it, as well as the FBI's "commitment to upholding First Amendment protected activity."