Congress has placed FBI Director Christopher Wray in the spotlight over a memo that revealed the FBI targeted traditionalist Catholics, asking church leaders to help monitor members and report them to the government. The memo, which was later withdrawn, talked of tracking interactions between so-called “radical-traditionalist Catholics” and white nationalist groups, according to the online publication The Hill. It also proposed meeting with church leaders on how to spot “warning signs” of radicalization. The memo, along with other internal documents, was released by the House Judiciary Committee. Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan has subpoenaed Wray to testify on the issue. “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 wrote in a letter to FBI Director Wray.
In the letter, Jordan also lashed out at the agency’s director for not complying with the committee’s original request for other documents. “This information is outrageous and only reinforces the Committee’s need for all FBI material responsive to our request,” Jordan wrote. “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,” Jordan’s letter continued. “They must be free to exercise their fundamental First Amendment rights without worrying that the FBI may have planted so-called ‘tripwire’ sources in their houses of worship.” The Weaponization of Government Committee tweeted a copy of Jordan’s three-page letter to Wray. The internal memo from the FBI’s was rescinded by the agency after whistle-blower Kyle Seraphin published it on UncoverDC.com.
The bureau’s national office said the memo “does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI” and vowed to “conduct a review of the basis for the document.” Jordan at the time, said the memo relies on “biased and partisan sources, including the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), Salon, and The Atlantic, to support its assessment,” noting the SPLC “identifies the broad term ‘Christian identity’ as a hate group — a term that could arguably encompass millions of Americans with sincerely held religious beliefs.” “The fact that the FBI would blindly accept and regurgitate the SPLC’s spin is highly concerning and undercuts the FBI’s assertion that it is unbiased and politically neutral,” he said. Meanwhile, The Daily Signal, the news arm of The Heritage Foundation, reported earlier on how the FBI uses a “glossary of terms” it looks for that could indicate someone is involved with “violent extremism”, according to documents obtained by the foundation’s Oversight Project.
According to the FBI’s glossary, certain words are allegedly code for extremists to communicate to one another online. The words include: “redpilled”, “based,” “looksmaxxing,” and the names “Chad” and “Stacy.” The law enforcement agency also flags phrases that include “it’s over” and “just be first.” The Oversight Project tweeted, “ Docs we obtained show how the terms ‘based’ or ‘red pilled’ are signs of ‘Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism’.” A follow-up tweet warned, “Using terms like ‘looksmaxxing’, ‘Chad’, and ‘Stacy’ will get you on an @FBI list for ‘Involuntary Celibate Violent Extremism’.” According to the FBI glossary, “based” means “someone who has been converted to racist ideology,” The Daily Signal reported. “Red pill” or being “redpilled” means someone is accepting racist, antisemitic, or fascist beliefs. According to the government’s list, the word “cell” is short for “incel”, which in turn is short for an online community of men who think they can’t attract women even though they want to be in a relationship.
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