The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently disavowed a report from its Richmond field office which attempted to link traditional Catholicism to so-called white supremacy.
FBI headquarters provided the following statement to The Washington Examiner on Thursday:
While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, this particular field office product — disseminated only within the FBI — regarding racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI. Upon learning of the document, FBI Headquarters quickly began taking action to remove the document from FBI systems and conduct a review of the basis for the document.
The FBI is committed to sound analytic tradecraft and to investigating and preventing acts of violence and other crimes while upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.
While we should be glad that the FBI distanced itself from this particular memo, it is by no means cause for celebration. The FBI has been ruthlessly weaponized against conservatives. The bureau only disavowed the document in question because it leaked and outrage ensued.
The report, leaked by UncoverDC on Wednesday, reveals the troubling degree to which the federal law enforcement is preoccupied with investigating those right of center.
The report states:
FBI Richmond assesses the increasingly observed interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) in radical-traditionalist Catholic (RTC) ideology almost certainly presents opportunities for threat mitigation through the exploration of new avenues for tripwire and source development.
The FBI lists areas of common ground between “ethnically motivated violent extremists” and “radical-traditionalist Catholic[s]” as their opinions on “legislation or judicial decisions in areas such as abortion rights, immigration, affirmative action, and LGBTQ protections.” These categories could include anyone opposed to CRT and open borders. And in the FBI’s view, the best way to combat these “radical-traditionalist Catholic[s]” is by developing “sources”—that is, informants.
In other words, the FBI wants to infiltrate your local Latin Mass. How absurd.
The report continues:
FBI Richmond makes this assessment with high confidence based on FBI investigations, local law enforcement agency reporting, and liaison reporting, with varying degrees of corroboration and access.
The fact that the FBI’s Richmond field office felt that this assessment was conducted with “high confidence” is curious. If it were so confident, why did the national FBI headquarters distance itself from the report?
Perhaps national FBI leadership simply did not see the report, and would have nixed it had they seen it, but only saw it after the report was leaked. We may never know, but I remain skeptical of this possibility.
As I see it, FBI Richmond was conducting business as usual and was indeed confident that its report was up to standards. I believe that, had the report in question not leaked, the FBI would have proceeded with this policy. Why? Because it is fully in-line with the FBI’s track record in recent years.
The weaponization of the FBI against conservatives and Christians shouldn’t come as a surprise. Examples of this weaponization abound, but perhaps most glaring is the bureau’s treatment of pro-life activist Mark Houck.
Houck, who serves as president of The King’s Men, a Catholic men’s group, was arrested by FBI agents in September 2022 for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Otherwise known as the FACE Act, this law forbids one from interfering with people on their way to obtain or provide “reproductive health services.”
Houck’s alleged violation of the FACE Act stems from a year-old incident in which Houck shoved an abortion clinic escort after the man refused to stay away from the pro-life activist’s 12-year-old son.
According to Ryan-Marie, Mark’s wife, an FBI SWAT team with around 25 agents and 15 vehicles swarmed their home at 7:05 a.m. and, with weapons drawn, “started pounding on the door and yelling for us to open it.” The ordeal terrified Houck’s family, including his seven children.
And although the FBI has defended its actions during the raid and has denied some of the Houcks’ description of the event, a federal jury thankfully found Mark Houck not guilty. He plans to sue the FBI, and I hope he wins.
With the Houck family’s ordeal in mind, can we be certain that the FBI distanced itself from the much-criticized memo because it was out of line with the agency’s policies and values? The more likely explanation is that the leak created a PR crisis for the FBI, hence the disavowal.
That such a powerful law enforcement agency views Christians, of all people, as threats to national security is extremely concerning. For this reason, we should be especially grateful that the whistleblower chose to leak the memo. God bless him.
Image credit: Reddit-r/Catholicism4 comments