Hageman Says FBI Made ‘Coordinated Effort’ To Label Catholics ‘Domestic Terrorists’

Rep. Harriet Hageman said a recent subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee shows multiple FBI field offices produced a memo targeting traditional Catholics as domestic terrorists.

LW
Leo Wolfson

August 11, 20234 min read

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyoming, tweeted Wednesday that documents the FBI provided "are definite proof that the agency made a coordinated attempt to surveil Catholics and label them domestic terrorists."
U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyoming, tweeted Wednesday that documents the FBI provided "are definite proof that the agency made a coordinated attempt to surveil Catholics and label them domestic terrorists." (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman is becoming increasingly concerned by FBI efforts to watch for domestic terrorism in the United States.

Hageman tweeted Wednesday that a recent subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee shows multiple FBI field offices produced a memo targeting traditional Catholics as domestic terrorists.

Hageman speculated that FBI Director Christopher Wray may have lied about this under oath when he said only one field office produced the memo.

“Did FBI Director Wray lie under oath?” she said. “These revelations are definitive proof that the agency made a coordinated attempt to surveil Catholics and label them domestic terrorists.”

The Subpoena

Under the scope of the Judiciary Committee is a memo produced by the FBI in January titled "Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities."

The committee, of which Hageman is an at-large member, asked the FBI to provide information about the document. When the FBI refused, the committee issued a subpoena in April. 

On July 17, the committee warned the FBI that if it failed to "substantially improve its compliance" with the subpoena request, the committee may seek to enforce it through contempt proceedings.

About a week later, the FBI produced a version of the documents with less redactions than two earlier versions it had provided. 

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Revelations

The subpoena produced evidence that the Richmond, Virginia, FBI field office coordinated with the agency’s field offices in Portland and Los Angeles to develop its assessment. 

“This new information suggests that the FBI's use of its law enforcement capabilities to intrude on American's First Amendment rights is more widespread than initially suspected and reveals inconsistencies with your previous testimony before the Committee,” said U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, in a Wednesday letter to Wray.

The subpoena shows that an FBI Portland contact provided information on a "deceased ‘Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremist subject’ who had "sought out a mainline Roman Catholic community" and then "gravitated to Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)."  

The FBI had believed white supremacy had “found a home within Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass." 

The document also notes how an FBI undercover agent with "direct access" reported on a person who "attended the SSPX-affiliated [redacted] Church in California for over a year prior to his relocation." The document states that the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office initiated an investigation on the Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremist subject. 

The newly produced version of the document 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 FBI's assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists,” Jordan and Johnson wrote.

The congressmen question why this information was redacted in earlier versions and say it proves why the committee needs a full version of the memo without any redactions.

During testimony given to the Judiciary Committee on July 12, Wray said the FBI’s Catholic surveillance was a result of "a single product by a single field office."

“This new information raises additional concerns about the accuracy, completeness and truthfulness of your testimony,” the congressmen wrote. “We invite you to amend your testimony to fully explain the nature and scope of the FBI's assessment of traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.”

Hageman and the Judiciary Committee have strongly questioned members of President Joe Biden’s administration since Republicans took control of the U.S. House at the start of the year.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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LW

Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter