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Rep. Jim Jordan Subpoenas FBI Director Wray Over 'Chilling' Memo On Catholic Parishes

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Apr. 11 2023, Published 4:30 p.m. ET

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GOP Congressman and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray over a "chilling" memo regarding Catholic parish members across the country, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The subpoena was in regard to a now-withdrawn memo sent from the FBI's Richmond, Virginia, field office, which alleged activity of "extremist" members in Catholic congregations.

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Jim Jordan

The withdrawn memo — which Jordan called "chilling" on Twitter — was titled, "Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities."

The memo discussed an agency meeting with heads of Catholic parishes to discuss "the warning signs of radicalization and to enlist their assistance to serve as suspicious activity tripwires."

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Christopher Wray

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The Republican saw the withdrawn memo as an overstep from the FBI — and an infringement on constitutional rights.

"The Committee on the Judiciary is conducting oversight of the [FBI’s] handling of domestic violent extremism investigations against Catholic Americans and its effect on protected First Amendment activity," Jordan wrote to Wray in a letter sent Monday.

"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 continued his letter.

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"This shocking information reinforces our need for all responsive documents, and the Committee is issuing a subpoena to you to compel your full cooperation," Jordan added.

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, several Republican lawmakers, like Jordan, have accused the FBI of operating under an anti-Catholic bias.

While GOP lawmakers saw the agency as threatening towards the religious group, Wray condemned the memo.

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"When I first learned of the piece I was aghast, and we took steps immediately to withdraw it and remove it from FBI system," Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee on the memo last month.

Wray insisted that the "chilling" memo did not "reflect FBI standards."

"We do not conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practices, full stop," Wray continued. "We have also now ordered our Inspection Division to take a look at how this happened and try to figure out how we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again."

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