House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) disclosed on Wednesday that various FBI field offices were engaged in composing a contentious memo detailing a strategy to target Catholic Americans.
Initially, it was believed that the memo was restricted solely to the Richmond Field Office in Virginia. However, a partially redacted edition of the memo, obtained by the committee last month, unveils that the Richmond field office had a “liaison contract” with the Portland Field Office and also incorporated information from the Los Angeles Field Office.
In a correspondence directed to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan and Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA), who leads the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, questioned Wray about the redaction of this information in prior editions of the document provided to the committee.
The letter reads, “The newly produced version of the document explicitly states that FBI Richmond ‘coordinated with’ FBI Portland in preparing the assessment. Thus, it appears that both FBI Portland and FBI Los Angeles field offices were involved in or contributed to the creation of the FBI’s assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.”
Remember the FBI Richmond Field Office memo targeting Catholics as terrorists?
Director Wray testified that it was only “a single field office,” doing so.
Well, a newly subpoenaed document shows otherwise.
It looks like FBI Portland & FBI Los Angeles were also involved.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 9, 2023
Following the initial revelation of the memo, Wray informed the committee during his March testimony that he was “aghast” upon learning about the memo’s existence. He stated that the FBI promptly took measures to retract and eliminate it from their systems.
Wray testified, “I will note, it was a product by one field office, which, of course, we have scores and scores of these products. And when we found out about it, we took action.”
The memo, named “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities,” unfoundedly alleged a connection between “radical-traditionalist Catholics” and “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.”
The memo read, “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.”
Even though Wray had previously testified that the memo was generated by “a single field office,” the recent report seemingly contradicts his sworn statement. This development raises the potential that Wray might have committed perjury during his congressional testimony.
In their communication, Jordan and Johnson allowed Wray the chance to revise his testimony to thoroughly clarify the FBI’s assessment. They also requested a recorded interview with the Chief Division Counsel, who approved the Richmond document.
The FBI issued a statement defending Wray and reasserting his original claim.
According to the FBI statement, Director Wray’s testimony on this matter has been truthful and consistent. Although the document mentioned details from other field office investigations of RMVE subjects, it doesn’t alter the fact that the document was created by a single office.