The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray for documents related to an FBI operation to infiltrate Catholic churches and develop sources.
The subpoena comes amid the House GOP effort to conduct oversight of the Biden administration’s alleged weaponization of government against political dissent or opposing views, including the FBI’s “handling of domestic violent extremism investigations against Catholic Americans,” House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote in a letter to Wray on Monday.
Jordan’s committee reports that documents have revealed the FBI sought to develop sources in local Catholic churches, as it sought to use local religious organizations as “new avenues for tripwire and source development,” according to a Monday news release highlighting the subpoena.
“Based on the limited information produced by the FBI to the committee, we now know that the FBI relied on at least one undercover agent to produce its analysis, and that the FBI proposed that its agents engage in outreach to Catholic parishes to develop sources among the clergy and church leadership to inform on Americans practicing their faith,” Jordan’s subpoena letter read. “This shocking information reinforces our need for all responsive documents, and the Committee is issuing a subpoena to you to compel your full cooperation.”
The committee is requesting FBI documents “without redactions,” which guarantees the information will be classified due to the long-running standard of protecting sources and methods.
But the House Judiciary Committee was outraged over the possibility that the FBI is spying on Catholic Americans.
“This information is outrageous and only reinforces the Committee’s need for all FBI material responsive to our request,” the letter added. “The documents produced to date show how the FBI sought to enlist Catholic houses of worship as potential sources to monitor and report on their parishioners.
“Americans attend church to worship and congregate for their spiritual and personal betterment. They must be free to exercise their fundamental First Amendment rights without worrying that the FBI may have planted so-called ‘tripwire’ sources or other informants in their houses of worship.”
While the initial findings came from a specific case related to the Richmond, Virginia, field office, “whistleblowers have advised that the FBI distributed this document to field offices across the country,” making for a nation-wide campaign to investigate American Catholics, according the House Judiciary Committee.
Jordan has been at the forefront of conducting oversight of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Biden administration in attempting to squelch political dissent and brand those opposed to government political positions as “domestic terrorists.”