Attorneys general in 20 states denounce FBI anti-Catholic memo

The top legal officials from 20 states signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland denouncing a recent FBI memo that sought to tie Catholics to white supremacists.

The memo, published by UncoverDC, was a leaked internal intelligence report generated by the Richmond, Virginia FBI office, which the publication blasted as using biased, partisan and political media sources, instead of substantiated intelligence.

“We write with outrage and alarm to address the anti-Catholic internal memorandum produced by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office on January 23, 2023, which was released to the public this week,” said the AGs’ letter produced by the office of Jason Miyares, attorney general of Virginia.

“The FBI must immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs and practices. We also demand that the FBI produce publicly all materials relating to the memorandum and its production,” the letter added.

The memo reportedly targeted Catholics who prefer the traditional Latin rite masses, and it proposed targeting such groups for infiltration by the FBI to produce “new opportunities for threat mitigation,” reports the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

“In other words, the memorandum proposes recruiting Catholics to enter a sacred house of worship, talk to their fellow Catholics, and report those conversations back to the FBI so that the federal government can keep tabs on the bad Catholics,” said the AGs in their letter.

The FBI confirmed the authenticity of the memo to CNA and issued an immediate retraction. 

But the state AGs weren’t satisfied by the retractions.

“The FBI’s scrubbing of the document from its systems and the purported ‘review’ of the process that created it in no way reassures us that this memorandum does not reflect a broader program of secretive surveillance of American Catholics or other religious adherents, and infiltration of their houses of worship.” 

The AGs suggest that the FBI is simply embarrassed because they were caught in the act of anti-Christian bigotry.

Critics say that the FBI campaign to target Catholics is clearly part of an overall political campaign aimed at pressuring pro-life activists. 

“Americans will remember a flood of conservative news outlets covering arrests of numerous pro-life protesters at the end of 2022, which are coming back into focus after the January 30, 2023 acquittal of defendant Mark Houck,” said UncoverDC. 

Mark Houck is a pro-life activist who was arrested by the FBI for an altercation outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic after an abortion escort allegedly harassed Houck’s young son. Houck was acquitted just last month.

Pro-life groups have also accused the FBI of dragging their feet in investigating attacks by pro-abortion activists, as in the case with a Buffalo-area pro-life center that was firebombed in the summer of 2022.

“The FBI has become a political apparatchik for an administration that has certain political leanings that are opposed to pro-life, opposed to support for traditional marriage, and opposed to support for border security,” Steve Friend, a former FBI agent told the Washington Examiner. 

The AGs’ letter demands “a full and complete briefing” from Garland’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and assurances that the FBI and the DOJ aren’t spying on Americans based on their political or religious views.