Jim Jordan subpoenas FBI director Wray
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has issued a subpoena to the Director of the FBI over the Bureau’s alleged efforts to develop “sources” in local Catholic Churches, and a now-withdrawn memo from a local field office that reportedly discussed the possibility some right-wing Catholics might pose possible domestic terror threats.
Jordan, who also heads the House GOP’s new, specially-constituted Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, appears to be using the new committee as a bullhorn to amplify far-right wing conspiracy theories about alleged incidents of anti-conservative bias, while attacking government officials who he sees as enemies of the far-right. His committee has not investigated any instances of anti-liberal bias.
But this new subpoena of FBI Director Wray (Jordan infamously to this day has refused to comply with a lawful subpoena from the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack) comes under the auspices of Jordan’s Judiciary Committee, despite Jordan tweeting it out via his Weaponization Committee account.
\u201c\ud83d\udea8 #BREAKING: We now know the FBI, relying on information derived from at least one \ud835\udc2e\ud835\udc27\ud835\udc1d\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc2b\ud835\udc1c\ud835\udc28\ud835\udc2f\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc2b employee, sought to use local religious organizations as \u201cnew avenues for tripwire and source development.\u201d\u201d— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization Committee) 1681147641
“The Committee on the Judiciary is conducting oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) handling of domestic violent extremism investigations against Catholic Americans and its effect on protected First Amendment activity,” Jordan’s letter begins. There is no proof his allegations are credible.
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Commonweal, a liberal Catholic magazine, explored the issue last month, mocking the far-right’s outrage, and noting: “Those who’ve been quick to call the FBI anti-Catholic should recognize that far-right Catholic websites do publish a great deal of material that would draw and affirm racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, especially anti-Semites. Catholic leaders and spokespersons should condemn that more forcefully.”
The FBI withdrew the memo after it was leaked. The far-right jumped on the memo as yet another alleged example of anti-Christian bias of the federal government. In reality, it was a memo drafted by one Richmond, Virginia FBI agent.
The now-withdrawn FBI memo, The Richmond-Times Dispatch reported in February, “said the agency was investigating Catholics who have possible ties to ‘the far-right white nationalist movement.'”
In his letter, Jordan claims: “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. This shocking information reinforces our need for all responsive documents, and the Committee is issuing a subpoena to you to compel your full cooperation.”
Commonweal also wrote that it’s “easy to make fun of the leaked FBI memo that proposed infiltrating radical-traditionalist Catholic organizations to gather intelligence on the violent extremists said to be drawn to them and, supposedly, their celebrations of the Tridentine Mass. As one op-ed writer scoffed in the Washington Post, ‘the most dangerous thing a Rad Trad might do is leave a rosary lying about for someone to slip on.'”
“It’s also easy to be outraged, especially if you misinterpret the FBI memo in the way twenty Republican attorneys general did in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland: ‘The memorandum’s targeting of Catholics because they prefer to pray in the ancient liturgical language of the Church, and the tactics it proposes for dealing with those Catholics, harkens back to some of the worst chapters of our past.'”
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It’s also important to remind Americans that Republican outrage during the early days of the Obama administration over a Dept. of Homeland Security “report warning that home-grown extremists are organizing and targeting military veterans for recruitment,” was so vilified – because those extremists were right-wing extremists – DHS withdrew the report.
That helped enable the rise of right-wing violent extremism, including white supremacist and white nationalist hate groups, that America faces today.
In 2021, President Joe Biden said, “Domestic terrorism from white supremacists is the most lethal terrorist threat in the homeland.”
Watch President Biden’s remarks below or at this link.
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