On Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland accusing him of providing false testimony to the Senate last month. Hawley’s letter follows the House Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government accusing the FBI of using “at least one undercover agent” to spy on Catholic groups in the Richmond, Virginia, area.
Hawley recalled his back-and-forth with Garland during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month, in which he accused Garland of lying when he said the Department of Justice does not do investigations based on religion.
Hawley wrote a letter to Garland on Tuesday morning demanding to know how many “undercover informants or other agents” are aiding the department from religious sites. He also asked Garland to provide information on how many agents the DOJ would “work with or otherwise employ” at Catholic parishes and other religious organizations.
In the letter, Hawley said that the potential scale of the surveillance campaign is “extremely concerning” and called for “everyone involved with this chilling surveillance campaign [to] face accountability.”
“[A]t this point, it is altogether unclear how many other FBI field offices received these directives. The potential scale of this anti-Catholic program is extremely concerning,” Hawley wrote. “Everyone involved with this chilling surveillance campaign must face accountability.”
The House subcommittee led by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday. The letter claims that lawmakers have “limited information produced by the FBI to the Committee” that shows “the FBI relied on at least one undercover agent” and “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.”
The FBI memo that was leaked also talked about “Radical Traditionalist Catholic” groups and claimed that these groups express an “adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.”