Risch, Grassley Demand FBI Director Answer for Memo Targeting Catholics

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

WASHINGTON - Upon discovering new details and discrepancies surrounding an anti-Catholic memo prepared by analysts in the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia field office, U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and 14 Senate colleagues pushed FBI Director Christopher Wray for answers. In the letter, the senators scrutinize top FBI officials for ordering analysts to permanently delete files related to the internal memo, obstructing congressional oversight.

“Freedom of religion is foundational to our country, and I am fiercely opposed to any efforts that would degrade or impair that right for all Americans,” said Risch. “The FBI memo targeting one specific religion—in this case Catholics—in and of itself is abhorrent, and it is now clear this memo was distributed and used to target Catholics much more broadly than the FBI let on. As if the creation of the memo was not bad enough, the agency deleted it and America’s chief law enforcement officer, the FBI Director, seems to be making a conscious effort to withhold information surrounding it. The FBI owes America answers.”

“The fact an FBI office produced even one discriminatory document like this — let alone two — is deeply troubling. It’s unfathomable the agency’s response has been to cut corners, dodge questions and stiff-arm Congress. From where I’m sitting, it seems like the FBI is working to sweep the issue under the rug rather than address it,” Grassley said.

The senators also pressed Wray regarding the accuracy of his testimony to congress that the memo was “a single product by a single field office.” This explanation conflicts with information the FBI provided Senators and the House Judiciary Committee. The committee confirmed multiple field offices contributed, and an analyst responsible for the first anti-Catholic memo prepared a second one for distribution to the entire FBI.

For months, the FBI used its ongoing internal review of the document as an excuse to shirk congressional oversight. With the internal review concluded, the senators are raising severe concerns. Their letter outlines necessary actions and review procedures the FBI must take to foster needed transparency and accountability.

To read the full letter, visit https://www.grassley.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/grassley_et_altofbirichmondmemo.pd...

Joining Risch and Grassley are U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and many more.