The documents were obtained last month by members of the Weaponization Subcommittee, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.). The documents showed that the FBI planned to use churches as "new avenues for tripwire and source development" and aimed to specifically target "mainline Catholic parishes" as part of its efforts, Fox News reported.
Also, according to Jordan, the bureau had an interest in "leverag[ing] existing sources and/or initiat[ing] Type 5 Assessments to develop new sources with the placement and access." Furthermore, the FBI expressed a desire to propagandize religious congregations "to the warning signs of radicalization and enlist their assistance to serve as suspicious activity tripwires."
"Based on the limited information produced by the FBI to the Committee, we now know that the FBI relied on at least one undercover agent to produce its analysis, and that the FBI 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," Jordan said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray -- who continues to allow this kind of stuff to go on under his watch -- on Monday.
Jordan has also issued a subpoena for a series of documents related to the FBI's plan to develop sources inside Christian churches and Catholic dioceses, which the committee had previously requested but the FBI had not provided, the news outlet reported.
"This information is outrageous and only reinforces the Committee’s need for all FBI material responsive to our request," Jordan wrote to FBI director. "The documents produced to date show how the FBI sought to enlist Catholic houses of worship as potential sources to monitor and report on their parishioners."
"Americans attend church to worship and congregate for their spiritual and personal betterment," the letter noted further. "They 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 and Johnson initially requested related documents from the FBI on February 16th, after Kyle Seraphin, a former FBI agent and whistleblower, published an internal document originating from the FBI's Richmond Field Office. The document appeared to outline a plan to "mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics."
Jordan and Johnson's initial request for related documents from the FBI, which came after the leaked document, went unanswered, prompting a follow-up request on March 20. Three days later, the FBI produced the 18-page document that Jordan announced on Monday. The leaked document had generated widespread condemnation from Republican lawmakers who said the FBI's efforts may violate the Constitution, Fox News noted.
"The FBI received the subpoena," the FBI told the news outlet in a statement. "The FBI recognizes the importance of congressional oversight and remains fully committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests consistent with its constitutional and statutory responsibilities. The FBI is actively working to respond to congressional requests for information – including voluntary production of documents."
The agency referred Fox News Digital to recent comments made by Wray during congressional testimony in which he was "aghast" by the revelation and expressed shock and disapproval of reports about the FBI targeting Catholics.
"We took steps immediately to withdraw it and remove it from FBI systems. It does not reflect FBI standards," Wray added. "We do not conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practices, full stop. 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."