The latest victims of the Biden administration’s hunt for conservatives are Catholics, or as the FBI apparently regards them, “radical, traditional Catholics.” Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has been a voice in the wilderness demanding accountability for this apparent government abuse.
As Daily Caller has reported, FBI Director Christopher Wray’s initial testimony, that the FBI operation surveilling Catholics was limited to a “field office in Richmond” was incorrect, given that there were similar FBI operations in Los Angeles and Oregon. Furthermore, the FBI relied on “at least one undercover employee,” according to the House Judiciary Committee’s press release. Based on these revelations, Jordan has subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray for related documents. At issue are Americans’ most basic First Amendment rights and religious freedom.
In his previous testimony in July, Wray deployed a familiar Washington trick: He sought to put the issue to rest by claiming that there is an “ongoing investigation.” In this case, the phrase du jour is “internal review.” This is to say that the FBI is investigating itself.
“It was a single product by a single field office in Richmond,” Wray assured Jordan in his testimony before the House. However, Wray has blocked the House Judiciary Committee from interviewing the relevant agents in that field office in Virginia. Now that the unredacted memo shows the FBI operation against Catholics was larger than Wray claimed, we have a real scandal on our hands.
“Do you think priests should be informants inside the Church, Director?” Jordan asked Wray incredulously during that hearing. Jordan did not appear amused by Wray’s arrogant performance, nor was he reassured by Wray’s promise to investigate himself. The indefatigable Jim Jordan saw right through Wray’s obfuscation, and the evidence now proves that Jordan was correct in his skepticism of the FBI. Wray claimed to be “aghast” at the incident, yet given his eagerness to minimize and even mischaracterize what happened, he can hardly be considered a partner to the House Judiciary Committee in finding the truth.
Simply put, it is unacceptable to investigate Catholics for being Catholics, whose only crime is apparently that they are not liberals. Yet in the view of Merrick Garland’s DOJ, they just might be “extremists.” This has been Garland’s MO since the beginning: those who he perceives as opposed to the Biden admin are all but assumed to be terrorists. Given Biden’s rhetoric, he likewise regards anyone who voted for Trump as an extremist, which one must emphasize refers to about half the country.
Biden frequently invokes “MAGA extremists,” as though to say that any Republican is a potential terrorist, unless they renounce the de facto leader of the Republican party and former president. That is not exactly a unifying message coming from Biden, who after all promised “not to divide but to unify.” One might see the FBI’s persecution of Catholics as downstream from Biden and Garland’s characterization of anyone who opposes them politically as a “domestic extremist.” In this climate, it is easy to see how civil rights abuses, such as those apparently committed by the FBI, might occur.
For all the energy Democrats put into investigating things that don’t exist, such as Russia collusion, House Republicans are deploying their resources to investigate real government abuses. Though these abuses do not appear particularly interesting to Director Wray, they have grave implications for our Constitutional rights and our civil liberties.
Michael Machera is weekend editor at the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow him on Twitter and visit his blog.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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