A new report issued Monday by the House Weaponization Subcommittee claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “abused its counterterrorism tools” in order to target Catholics and pro-life supporters “as potential domestic terrorists.”
According to The Daily Caller, the FBI retracted a Richmond field office internal memorandum in February that described Catholics as “radical” and alleged that Catholics promote “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” In response to the widespread backlash to the FBI memorandum, the House Weaponization Subcommittee launched an investigation into the incident.
“The documents received pursuant to the Committee’s subpoena show that the FBI singled out Americans who are pro-life, pro-family, and support the biological basis for sex and gender distinction as potential domestic terrorists,” the committee’s new report states. “The memorandum recognized ‘the run-up to the next general election cycle’ as a key time frame and cited the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade as a flash point.”
The report claims that the FBI met with a Catholic bishop and a choir director in November or December of 2022 while the memorandum was still being developed. Additionally, the report claims the FBI “directly communicated with Catholic clergy and staff about parishioners practicing their faith.”
In its report, the House Weaponization Subcommittee claimed that the FBI memorandum would likely remain in effect and would continue to violate “the religious liberties of millions of Catholic Americans” if a whistleblower had not come forward with information regarding the targeting of Catholics and pro-life supporters.
According to The Daily Caller, the FBI has not provided an estimate regarding how many of its field offices obtained the memorandum despite the House committee requesting the information. The report claims that the FBI did not have a “legitimate basis” for developing the memorandum except for a “single investigation” of an individual who was “self-described” as a “radical-traditionalist Catholic.”
In addition to repeatedly criticizing the FBI for failing to present the House Weaponization Subcommittee with requested documents regarding the development and distribution of the controversial FBI memorandum, the committee’s report claimed that the FBI’s own review of the incident discovered “errors at every step of the drafting, review, and approval of Richmond’s Catholic ‘intelligence product.'”
Despite the report published by the House Weaponization Subcommittee, an FBI spokesperson told The Daily Caller that “any characterization that the FBI is targeting Catholics is false.”
“We have stated repeatedly that the intelligence product prepared by one FBI field office did not meet the exacting standards of the FBI and was quickly removed from FBI systems,” the FBI spokesperson stated. “An internal review conducted by the FBI found no malicious intent to target Catholics or members of any other religious faith, and did not identify any investigative steps taken as a result of the product.”