Apr 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Jim Jordan subpoenas FBI over allegedly targeting Catholic churches

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) issued new subpoenas to the FBI on Monday, demanding information about the agency's alleged source development targeting Catholic churches in Richmond, Virginia.

Why it matters: It's one of several angles the new Weaponization committee is using to investigate the FBI.

  • The committee has questioned the agency's handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and subpoenaed the FBI as part of its probe into alleged bias in the government's investigations of school board protesters.

Driving the news: Jordan claims in the subpoena that based on "limited information" provided to the committee, the FBI "relied on at least one undercover agent to produce its analysis" and "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."

  • The committee sent multiple letters to the FBI asking for information on a memo that was reported on largely by conservative and religious outlets earlier this year.
  • The memo allegedly cited concerns about “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology" and suggested developing sources in local parishes.

What they're saying: "We now know the FBI, relying on information derived from at least one undercover employee, sought to use local religious organizations as 'new avenues for tripwire and source development,'” Jordan tweeted, citing materials provided to the committee.

  • "I saw the document... it's appalling," Attorney General Merrick Garland said about the memo at a hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Garland added that the FBI withdrew the memo.

Between the lines: This would not be the first time questions have been raised over the FBI targeting certain religious groups.

  • Three Muslim Americans brought a lawsuit against the FBI in 2011, claiming the agency violated the Constitution and federal laws in spying on their communities based on their religion.
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