Last Thursday, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Michael Cloud (R-TX) sent a letter to the FBI requesting additional information on the controversial advisory circulated from the FBI’s Richmond office warning against “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology.”
The letter responds to a leaked internal memo at the FBI’s Richmond field office from January 23, 2023, identifying “radical traditionalist Catholics” as potentially “racially or ethnically motivated extremists.” While the memo was rescinded, it raises disturbing questions about the FBI’s potential abuse of authority and targeting of certain religious groups.
Lankford and Cloud’s letter demands more information from FBI Director Chris Wray on how exactly the memo came about, in addition to the evidence FBI authorities relied on in targeting this specific group. The letter also outlines how the FBI’s targeting of Traditionalist Catholics clearly violates First Amendment protections and the rights of churches to determine their own doctrine independent of government interference.
Representative Cloud released the following statement:
“The FBI has had a troubling pattern in recent months of abusing its authority and overstepping the bounds of its proper role,” said Congressman Cloud. “Targeting Catholic groups on the basis of their religious beliefs is totally unacceptable and should be fully condemned. Our nation has a long history serving as a haven for those persecuted for their faith, and it is critical that our government protect those individuals rather than abuse their authority to attack them. The FBI owes it to Americans to explain how this appalling memo came to be, why anything like it was formed in the first place, and what precisely is being done to ensure it never happens again.”
18 other Republicans signed the letter, including Sens. Braun (R-IN), Marshall (R-KS), Risch (R-ID), Scott (R-FL), as well as Reps. Bice (R-OK), Biggs (R-AZ), Bishop (R-NC), Brecheen (R-OK), Cline (R-VA), Duncan (R-SC), Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Norman (R-SC), Ogles (R-TN), Posey (R-FL), Rosendale (R-MT), Smith (R-NJ), Steube (R-FL), and Weber (R-TX).