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FBI authorities purged from its system an unclassified intelligence document that targeted traditional Catholics following a whistleblower leak.
FBI whistleblower Kyle Seraphin says the document, first published in UncoverDC, specifically points to “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists in radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology.” Through tripwires and liaisons, which are trusted contacts, Seraphin noted, the FBI can employ threat mitigation against such groups ahead of the next election.
The document draws attention to the so-called Radical-Traditional Catholic, described as someone who rejects the Second Vatican Council as a valid church council, shows disdain for most of the popes elected since Vatican II, and frequently adheres to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacy ideology.
A spokesperson for the FBI told The Daily Wire in an email that the bureau began removing the document from its system after learning about it.
“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 spokesperson 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.”
“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.”
Seraphin, who spent six years in the bureau working in counterterrorism and counterintelligence, was officially suspended indefinitely and without pay in June 2022 after he complained of allegedly questionable activity within the bureau and refused to comply with its COVID vaccine mandate.
Seraphin wrote in his piece for UncoverDC that the intelligence document shows a permissive tolerance within the bureau for left-leaning ideological actors that furthers the weaponization of the FBI against conservative Americans and could lead to “investigations into Americans in violation of their God-given, First Amendment-protected civil liberties.”
Bureau officials based the document on reporting from articles published by left-leaning sources, such as Salon, The Atlantic, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The document is using poor sourcing to make a very weak link to the FBI’s favorite ‘boogie man’ — white supremacy,” Seraphin told The Daily Wire.
Typically, Seraphin said, the method for approval of such documents goes through peer review and then a supervisory intelligence analyst. But the one in question went through review and was ultimately cleared for internal publishing by the Chief Division Counsel — the top attorney — for the Richmond Division.
An analyst footnote specifically mentions The Society of Saint Pius (SSPX), which officials describe as an international priestly society that promotes the traditional Catholic priesthood, traditional Latin Mass, and sacraments.
“The SSPX is currently considered ‘canonically irregular,'” the document reads. “The SSPX has spawned a number of offshoots,” which includes SSPX-Resistance, also referred to as SSPX-Marian Corps.
Such “offshoots” allegedly rejected SSPX’s attempts to reconcile with the Vatican and refused to consider Vatican II valid and binding while questioning the legitimacy of all the popes since the Second Vatican Council.
“The reason they likely chose this group, which I’m not totally confident actually describes any traditional Catholics, is because the SPLC and Salon called them a hate group,” Seraphin said. “When you are using unapproved sources for an ‘intelligence product,’ it is likely not a confirmation bias issue with the writer.”
The document also based its intel on investigations, noting “a growing overlap between the far-right white nationalist movement and” radically traditional Catholics.
Authorities tie the far-right white nationalist movement back to the likes of Nick Fuentes, Milo Yiannopoulos, and pro-life Americans who officials accuse of demonstrating an “increase in hostility” towards pro-abortion people and centers in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The phrase “abortion rights” appears several times throughout the document.
Seraphin says alleged hostility towards abortion advocates could justify the FBI to enforce the FACE Act, which prohibits anyone from using force, threats of force, or physical obstruction against any person seeking or providing reproductive health services.
FBI authorities also allege the so-called Radical-Traditional Catholics pose threats on unnamed social media sites or at “places of worship as facilitation platforms to promote violence.”
Published intelligence products, Seraphin said, could open investigations and counterterrorism cases partially predicated on such documents and further create a slippery slope for authorities to target other traditional sects of Christian groups, including Baptists, Lutherans, and Evangelicals.
“If this product can be cited as acceptable information, it normalizes the process of looking at any Christian group that holds views that their version of religion is correct, abortion is wrong, LGBT issues don’t belong in politics, or any other hot topic ‘linking’ them to so-called ‘white supremacists,” he said. “It also cracks the glass of what is appropriate to investigate or consider for intelligence.”
“This should be off limits under the first amendment,” Seraphin added.