House Report Shows Deeper FBI Surveillance Of Catholics, Pro-Lifers

A House Weaponization Subcommittee report issued on Monday raises significant new concerns about the FBI’s secret investigations into traditional Catholics and pro-life advocates. The findings will spark new debate about protecting American religious liberties and investigative overreach by the largely unaccountable federal police force.

The report’s central findings show the FBI misused its counterterrorism tools to target Catholics and pro-life advocates “as potential domestic terrorists.”

The subcommittee investigation leading to Monday’s report was initiated after an internal FBI memorandum was leaked out of the Richmond field office. In February, FBI leadership retracted that memorandum only after it became public, and it was shown agents were instructed to consider traditionalist Roman Catholics as “radicals.”

The memorandum, which was designed to provide instruction in identifying “potential domestic terrorists,” described the 2022 Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade as a “flashpoint” for domestic terrorists.

The subcommittee found the FBI was likely biased and committed numerous errors in handling the leak of the Richmond memorandum. The report sharply criticized the FBI for withholding information from the subcommittee and refusing to share the documents that detailed the process that led to the development and distribution of the memorandum.

New revelations in the report show the FBI engaged in questionable investigative tactics, including intimidating interviews with Catholic clergy, including a priest and a church choir director.

The FBI has predictably maintained that its investigative practices are not based on religious beliefs. The agency has attempted to defend itself by insisting the offensive memorandum was removed, but only after it was published. The FBI’s statement provides: “We do not conduct investigations based solely on religious affiliations or practices, or any other First Amendment protected activity.”

Despite the FBI’s claims that it does not engage in unconstitutional investigative practices, the report pointed out the agency only recanted after lawmakers and the public learned what it was doing. “If the memo had not been made public via a whistleblower, it would likely still be in effect, violating the religious liberties of millions of Catholic Americans,” the report provides.

The public now awaits further developments and expects additional oversight action from the subcommittee and Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH).