After the public got a glimpse of the memo, it was retracted.
The FBI on Thursday retracted an intelligence product from its Richmond field office that suggested some Roman Catholics be viewed as radical extremist threats and urged agents to infiltrate certain groups from the world’s largest Christian faith.
The episode is the latest to sully the FBI’s reputation, raising fresh concerns about political bias and civil liberties. It came a little over a year after an earlier bungled effort sought to treat parents protesting at school board meetings as domestic terrorism threats.
In a statement to Just the News, the FBI said the product made public by a former FBI agent and whistleblower, Kyle Seraphin, was circulated only inside the bureau and did not meet the agency’s investigative requirements,
“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, this particular field office product — disseminated only within the FBI — regarding racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI,” the bureau said.
“Upon learning of the document, FBI Headquarters quickly began taking action to remove the document from FBI systems and conduct a review of the basis for the document,” it added. “The FBI is committed to sound analytic tradecraft and to investigating and preventing acts of violence and other crimes while upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”
The memo surfaced Wednesday in a blog post from Seraphin and suggested that Catholics who prefer to celebrate Mass in the traditional Latin language posed a risk of white supremacism and violence.
The intelligence memo stated that the FBI assessed with “high confidence” that radical traditional Catholics — referred to as RTCs — were prone to “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” It urged agents to try to counter the threat from such Catholics through various investigative strategies that include “source development.”
The memo appears to have derived some of its intelligence concerns from information from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, citing the group’s list entitled “Radical Traditional Catholicism Hate Groups.”
The FBI’s Richmond Division would like to protect Virginians from the threat of “white supremacy,” which it believes has found a home within Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass. An intelligence analyst within the Richmond Field Office of the FBI released in a new finished intelligence product dated January 23, 2023, on Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE) and their interests in “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” or RTCs. The document assesses with “high confidence” the FBI can mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics by recruiting sources within the Catholic Church.
The acronym, new to many in the Domestic Counterterrorism field, comes with a footnote by the writer explaining RTCs are “typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council.” The writer makes an unsubstantiated leap that a preference for the Catholic Mass in Latin instead of the vernacular and a number of more traditional views on other world religions can amount to an “adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” This writer draws the important distinction between “traditional Catholics,” who simply prefer the Traditional Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings, and RTCs, who espouse “more extremist ideological beliefs and violent rhetoric.”
A discerning reader may wonder why the writer believes such divisions exist and if there is evidence of the extremist and violent rhetoric within the Catholic church. The analyst’s note doesn’t provide specifics. When the FBI generates an intelligence product, it is important to note the analyzed sources. Typically, strict source vetting removes partisanship and bias, so a product is both consistent with federal law and can add value to the FBI’s overall mission. Of note, this document was reviewed and approved for release by the FBI Richmond Chief Division Counsel, who is the office’s top lawyer.
The attached appendices refer to a number of articles and the out-of-FBI-policy Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) at the end of the document. For example, Appendix D is a direct copy of the SPLC list of “Radical Traditional Catholicism Hate Groups,” including the web address accessed. The SPLC appears to be a source for the intelligence analyst’s beliefs that RTCs exist and that they are anti-Semitic. The SPLC description for this “hate group” states RTCs “may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America.” Often in the intelligence world, this type of statement without any established evidence is often followed by the acronym “NFI” or “No Further Information” to indicate it is an unsubstantiated opinion. Additionally, SPLC states RTCs “embrace extremely conservative social ideals with respect to women.” Nothing reported by the SPLC indicates the number of adherents to this alleged ideology nor any instances of violence. This lack of evidence and blatant partisan blindness is one of many reasons the FBI has distanced itself from the SPLC as a source in the past 10 years. The intelligence product includes endnote citations from two other sources: the far-Left online magazine Salon and the equally left-leaning The Atlantic. The Salon articles cited are typical of partisan click-bait writing: “Traditional Catholics and White Nationalist Groypers Forge a new Far-Right Youth Movement” and “White Nationalists Get Religion: On the Far-Right Fringe, Catholics and Racists Forge a movement.” These articles were released a day apart as a series but include substantially the same information. The articles offer only circumstantial suggestions of affiliations between inflammatory figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and Nick Fuentes and a man pictured standing on the steps of a Catholic church in New York after the Dobbs decision. The Salon writer makes the wild leap that using a photo of someone at a church indicates the pictured individual or his beliefs are relevant within a religious institution with 70 million adherents in the United States alone and over 2000 years of tradition and history.
The writer determines that the “threat picture” involving RMVE, again in this case, referring to white supremacists, will increase, but that the “RTC Community is likely to remain relatively stable or show modest growth” over the next one to two years. The basis for this assessment is not annotated and appears to be speculative. The speculative increase in RMVE interactions with RTC leads the writer to suggest mitigation strategies, including recruiting Confidential Human Sources (“source development”), tripwire, and liaison contacts. Tripwires and liaisons are overt contacts with trusted members of a community or an industry. They can advise law enforcement about potentially illegal activity. Due to the fact that “white supremacy” is itself a First Amendment-protected belief, to say nothing of proponents of the most established Christian denomination in the world, the Bureau tries to cover documents like these with a caveat excusing their intrusion into the sacrosanct grounds of free exercise of religion and free association. In another typical intrusion into First Amendment concerns, the document implies a strategy of monitoring social media for RTC ideology in online posts.
……This tremendous statistical mismatch usually would have led federal law enforcement to focus on the highest threat, but the increasingly Leftist bend of FBI enforcement actions appears to have ignored this trend. It also appears the writer is simply assuming RMVEs share common cause with Conservatives, including practicing Catholics, on issues about abortion, immigration, affirmative action, and LGBTQ protections. This editorial bias should give the reader of this document a medium to high confidence the intelligence analyst is the product of left-leaning higher education and leftist values.
The piece concludes with the incredible leap that RMVEs or white supremacists pose a threat to use “RTC social media sites” (no examples) or “places of worship as facilitation platforms to promote violence.” This intelligence product is indicative of a permissive tolerance within the FBI for Left-leaning ideological actors who use academic-sounding rhetoric to cover a dearth of personal experience. The weaponization of the FBI against conservative Americans can be seen in the way documents like this are published and distributed. Poorly sourced and highly speculative intelligence products lead to opening badly articulated predicate investigations into Americans in violation of their God-given, First Amendment-protected civil liberties.
While most Americans are familiar with criminal investigations, which explore the allegation or information that a crime has been committed, many are not familiar with intelligence investigations. In contrast to the linear nature of a criminal case, counterintelligence and counterterrorism cases follow a circular path that can continue indefinitely without any articulated goal. Indeed, information is the goal of these types of cases. Many counterterrorism cases never articulate or uncover a single criminal act. Yet, they continue in order to develop more understanding of the “threat landscape” or “threat pictures,” as quoted in this document. Intelligence investigations often beget more investigations. The relevance of this product should not be lost on the reader.
Products like this can be used to support the opening of information-only cases, and there is no reason to expect Radical-Traditionalist Catholics are the end point of this train track – they will be the beginning. Opening the door to associating white supremacists with traditional religious practices based on common Christian positions on abortion and the LGBTQ political agendas is a dangerous step. Such investigations can easily lead to the same analysis of Radical Traditional Baptists, Radical Traditional Lutherans, and Radical Traditional Evangelicals. The FBI is forbidden from opening cases or publishing products based solely on First Amendment-protected activities. By tolerating the publishing of intelligence products as shoddy as this, they are crossing a line many Americans will find themselves on the wrong side of for the first time in history. This is what a politicalized FBI looks like; it should not be tolerated if Americans expect to enjoy the protections of our Bill of Rights.
The redacted memo:
Notice the reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC is a criminal enterprise. It uses threats, intimidation, and extortion-based lawsuits as a money-making racket. Morris Dees, (who was eventually fired) Mark Potok, Larry Keller, and David Holthouse, are not averse to using smear tactics, taking advantage of victims’ families, leveling false accusations, and labeling black conservatives with pejorative racial terms.
This is coming from an organization that pretends to be a champion of minorities and civil rights. It’s actually a bastion of leftwing intolerance and hate.
Looks like the FBI hasn’t ‘distanced’ far enough from the organization.
Citizens who question authoritarian measures and the integrity of elections are now considered “domestic terrorists”.
Of course, the real domestic terrorists, Antifa and BLM, are excluded from the DOJ threat assessments.
Obama did the same thing. During his regime, Janet Napolitano developed an Enemies List (AKA: Homeland Security Department document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”) which contained a section titled, “Disgruntled Military Veterans”. She also added a DHS study that outlined “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States”, that did not include the muslim terrorist threat in the country. It did, however, name the following people as threats:
– Americans who believe their “way of life” is under attack;
– People who consider themselves “anti-global” (presumably those who are wary of the loss of American sovereignty);
– Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”;
– Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty”;
In other words, people who are legitimately concerned about government corruption, abuse of power, and violation of civil liberties.
Napolitano also released a PSA portraying middle-aged white people as most likely to set off subway bombs.
Biden’s regime and his media tools ignore the Antifa and BLM violence they foster, encourage, and refuse to condemn. They rampage in the streets, set buildings on fire, loot businesses, and assault and murder people. The damage they’ve inflicted has equaled the cost of Hurricane Sally, which totaled $2 billion.
Timeline of Antifa violence, HERE.
All this bullshit about non-existent “white supremacy” and not one fucking word about the real infestation of pro-Islamofascists and leftwing/Communist extremists.
After Nidal Hasan’s terrorist rampage at Ft. Hood, the Army went looking for scapegoats and reprimanded 9 officers for “leadership failures”. They “found that Hasan’s supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he worked expressed serious concerns about his questionable behavior and poor judgment but failed to heed their own warnings.” Hasan’s bloody attack would have been prevented if the United States Army didn’t create an environment of fear-based political correctness. The motherfucker spewed Islamic rhetoric during briefings, signed his emails with “Praise Be to Allah,” and told a female supervisor she was an infidel who would be “ripped to shreds” and “burn in hell” because she was not muslim. No one took it up through the chain of command because God forbid that they violate some EO reg and “offend” someone.
An Army Lieutenant Colonel at Ft. Campbell sent out an email accusing Christians and patriots of being “hate groups”. The Ft Campbell Lieutenant Colonel in question was LTC Jack Rich. I sent an email of my own to the shitbag.
Biden and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) called Tea Party Republicans “terrorists” for daring to fight against Obama’s socialist agenda.
Dems have no respect for American citizens, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution. Current and former government officials are calling us “domestic terrorists” to justify their own extremist ideology. They are a hate group. They push mob violence as long as it serves their ideology, which is primarily against Trump supporters. DemLeft extremists have upped the ante and achieved a prominent position as the biggest hate group in the country.
The Dems have created a system of bullying and persecution of political opponents. Biden even has a ‘snitch line’ to turn in friends and relatives who object to government autocracy.
“White supremacist” is the new phrase for Dissident.
There are hundreds of documented reports of violence against Trump supporters. There’s a steady barrage of death threats, assaults, and filth-laden tantrums on social media from unhinged left-wing journos, college professors, and disgruntled Hillary voters who hated the fact that Trump was elected.
As veterans, we took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. That’s an oath I take seriously. My retirement from the Army is not a statute of limitations for protecting inalienable rights.
The real threat to this country are Dems and weaponized government agencies that want to transform America into a police state and their media propaganda tools who incite violence against anyone who objects to their lawless corruption and trampling of civil liberties.