(CBrief) – The House Judiciary Committee released internal documents on Monday revealing that the FBI sought to develop sources inside Christian churches and Catholic dioceses to combat domestic terrorism, according to reports.
According to Fox News, internal documents show that the FBI had planned to use Christian churches and Catholic dioceses as “new avenues for tripwire and source development.” The documents, which were obtained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., showed that the FBI also aimed to specifically target “mainline Catholic parishes.”
Jordan also noted that the FBI expressed interest in “leverag[ing]existing sources and/or initiat[ing]Type 5 Assessments to develop new sources with the placement and access.” In yet another example, the FBI cited a push to alert religious congregations “to the warning signs of radicalization and enlist their assistance to serve as suspicious activity tripwires.”
“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 said in a letter he sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday, Fox News reported.
Jordan has also issued a subpoena for a set of documents related to the FBI’s efforts which the committee had previously requested from the agency but had not received.
“This information is outrageous and only reinforces the Committee’s need for all FBI material responsive to our request,” noted Jordan in his letter to Wray. “The documents produced to date show how the FBI sought to enlist Catholic houses of worship as potential sources to monitor and report on their parishioners.”
“Americans attend church to worship and congregate for their spiritual and personal betterment,” the letter added. “They must be free to exercise their fundamental First Amendment rights without worrying that the FBI may have planted so-called ‘tripwire’ sources or other informants in their houses of worship.”
Jordan and Johnson made their initial request for related documents from the FBI on Feb. 16, after former FBI agent and whistleblower Kyle Seraphin published an internal document originating from the FBI’s Richmond Field Office. The document appeared to outline a plan to “mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics.”
The leaked document, which originated from the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, had generated criticism from Republican lawmakers who argued that the agency’s efforts could violate the Constitution.
“We now know the FBI, relying on information derived from at least one undercover employee, sought to use local religious organizations as ‘new avenues for tripwire and source development,’” Jordan said in a tweet, citing materials provided to the committee.
We now know the FBI, relying on information derived from at least one undercover employee, sought to use local religious organizations as “new avenues for tripwire and source development.”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 10, 2023