(Bloomberg) -- The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed records from FBI Director Christopher Wray tied to efforts to convince “mainline Catholic parishes” to help investigate radical extremism within their churches.
The subpoena, the committee said, stems from a document from the Richmond, Va. field office entitled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”
“This information is outrageous and only reinforces the committee’s need for all FBI material responsive to our request,” Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan wrote to Wray on Monday.
Within the document, Jordan said, the FBI expressed an interest in leveraging “existing sources” and developing new sources with the “placement and access” to report on suspicious activity. Those included developing sources within “the local diocesan leadership,” Jordan said.
Americans “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 wrote.
There was no immediate response from Wray, but he told senators last month that the document “does not reflect FBI standards” and the bureau “took steps immediately to withdraw it and remove it from FBI systems.”
“We do not conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practices, full stop,” Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We have also now ordered our inspection division to take a look at how this happened and try to figure out how we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Department of Justice spokeswoman Emma Dulaney declined to comment on the subpoena.
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