CV NEWS FEED // CatholicVote’s Tom Pogasic sat down with Kyle Seraphin, an Air Force veteran, former FBI Special Agent, and true American whistleblower.
He spills exactly how the FBI utilizes tripwires and source development to spy on Catholic Churches, how the George Santos indictment is bad news for political enemies of the Biden administration, and some insight into the Nashville Covenant school shooting.
An excerpt of their interview is available below. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Tom Pogasic: Welcome to this bonus edition of The Loop Cast. Today, we have Kyle Seraphin, ex-Air Force, former FBI, and true American whistleblower.
Kyle, thanks for taking the time to join us again.
Kyle Seraphin: Happy to be here. Thanks, Tom.
Tom: Starting off, we have the memo in Virginia. The FBI let us believe that it was just a one-off. Then we eventually hear from Chris Wray, director of the FBI, that there actually was an FBI agent embedded in at least one Catholic Church across the country, mainline Latin Mass, all of them.
Did that surprise you that it had expanded to a national level or was that just a foregone conclusion to you?
Kyle: For me, it’s a foregone conclusion. If they’re in for a penny, they’re in for a pound. That’s the nature of the bureau. The other thing is, is that they’re chronic obstructionists when it comes to giving out information and telling the truth. Chris Wray has a real problem with being out there in the world and sharing things that are factually accurate and not hiding things.
I think that is just the nature of the FBI being an intelligence agency, an intelligence organization. That is the default position for intel agencies. They don’t give out the truth to people because they think that they’re the only ones entitled to information. That’s sort of their purview to hold it and to doll it out when necessary and to the goals that they have.
Regarding putting FBI agents in [parishes], it should be something that’s antithetical to people’s oaths, because we all swear an oath, not to the FBI, but to the Constitution.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the military or whether you’re in law enforcement or in civilian service. All these things have the same oath, and it has nothing to do with where you actually work or where your paycheck comes from. It should be about defending the constitutional government, but moreover, the Bill of Rights.
I think that is the biggest piece that affects government employees. They shouldn’t be encroaching on First Amendment-protected liberties. They shouldn’t be walking into a space where they could encroach on those liberties and they have to be on guard in order to make sure that the agency doesn’t ask them to do something that’s illegal, immoral, or unethical.
Right now, a lot of people are more than willing to do those things as long as they keep their paycheck, which is incredibly dangerous and also probably really scary for people in religious communities.
Tom: Why Catholics? Simple question, but why Catholics? Why are they a threat?
Kyle: I don’t know why specifically. It’s a lot of speculation on my part.
Number one, and most weird, is that the FBI is one of the most Catholic-ridden and Catholic-permeated organizations you could ever imagine. Everybody you deal with, there is Catholic. I kept talking to people who mention that “we went to Mass on Sunday.” It’s very, very common in the training, in the agent population, and maybe less so in the intel community, but still it’s there. That’s really strange.
I think what they did is they tried to ask: “Who is a fringe group of mainline Christians that we could go after?” There’s a left-leaning part of the Church that wants to stop the traditional Latin Mass. They don’t like the way that things have progressed. I think when you open the door in Catholicism to say that the traditional ways are not necessarily the right way, we’re going to do this Post Vatican II doctrine…which is “mainline,” it makes the Latin Mass churches seem more fringe.
I think the FBI said, “We can take a fringe group of a larger group of mainline Christianity, and that will help us pry-bar our way in,” because people will think that it’s the old they came for, and that wasn’t me. They came for the Latin Mass Catholics, but that wasn’t me so I didn’t care.
Then they came for the radical evangelical types, and I didn’t care because I wasn’t one of them. Eventually, it’s going to be that they are now at all the Christian Masses, Christian services of all kinds.
I think this memo was just a pry-bar to get into mainline Christianity for all Christians. It is a universal problem that they were going after this particular church with 70 million adherents in the U.S.
Tom: We have heard about tripwires and source development. Speaking to a former agent, I know this is speculation because you don’t know exactly what happened, but what are the potential methods of surveillance that you think could have been used? Practically, as an agent, what do you think was done?
Kyle: They talk about tripwires and source development, let’s break down what those are. A tripwire or a liaison contact is sometimes the same thing. Those are overt and public contacts. That’s an FBI agent with credentials walking into the parish office and saying, “I’m with the FBI. These are some concerns we have. We’d like to let you know about them so that if you see them, you can call us.” That’s a tripwire. We use them in counterterrorism all the time.
Let’s use a famous example from the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City bombing. What an agent would do is ask, “Well, what did he use?” McVeigh used a huge amount of fertilizer, ammonium nitrate base, and hundreds and hundreds of pounds of it when he didn’t have a farm. So the agent would go to feed stores and agricultural supplies bases and ask, “if you see somebody who wants to buy 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers and they pull up in a Mercedes and they don’t have a truck and they don’t look like a guy who wears boots to work, maybe you could give us a call and let us know about it and say what your suspicions are. These are the things we’d like you to be on the lookout for.” Then the feed store would say, “Okay, no problem, thanks. We’ll keep your card.” They pin it to a bulletin board. That’s your liaison, that’s your tripwire. If something happens, it trips that wire, and then the FBI is notified.
Source development is something radically different. Source development is what we often know as confidential human sources, or informants. That is to go and create a confidential contact that will be looking for things that they are tasked with. These are the specific source and handler-type things. The investigation could be into a drug organization, it could be into human trafficking, it could be into a white-collar fraud operation where people are laundering money, and it could, apparently, be into a church, which is what we’re seeing.
Tom: Those don’t match.
Kyle: They don’t make any sense at all. That’s exactly right. It’s so incongruous with the way people would imagine that this sort of law enforcement entity would go. It’s to, theoretically, look for signs of white supremacy. Completely forgetting the fact that white supremacists in the United States have a hatred for the Catholic Church. That’s pretty straightforward. The KKK was famously against the Catholic Church.
The reason that they used to write it up in this particular document we were discussing, is that they said there’s a common cause between white supremacists and radical traditional Catholics. At the end of the day, those people apparently have the same feelings on LGBTQIA, and public rights or specialized rights. They have the same feelings about legalized abortion – they try to reduce that in the states or try to get rid of it altogether. They also have the same feelings about immigration, that it should be legal.
All of these are mainline, I wouldn’t even say they’re Christian positions. These are mainline conservative positions at this point. If you’re going to draw a line around people that go to the traditional Latin mass, then T.L.M. Catholics are apparently just like every other conservative: they are potentially white supremacists if you’re the FBI.
Tom: I want to continue on to the lawsuit of course, but a question about source development. You were involved with the targeting of parents at school boards. Did you see similar things when you were whistleblowing? Were they developing sources within communities? Were they saying: “If this mom is upset about our school boards and they talk about it in a Facebook group we need to know about it and these people need to be stifled?” Is that what was happening?
Kyle: I didn’t specifically see that. My whistleblowing is specific. To be a federal whistleblower, you have to qualify under the statute 5USC2023. It’s not very exciting to say what that [statute] is. But, you have to allege a concrete allegation of either fraud waste and abuse, or a violation of one of five different particular violations of rules or policies.
What I believe happened was the attorney general said he was not going to use counterterrorism resources against parents on school boards. Then I got an email forwarded to me from the assistant director of counterterrorism at the FBI saying that they were actually going to tag these investigations. That’s the very specifics of it.
When it comes to actually doing the implementation of that sort of investigation, we have such a fractionalized or factionalized society at this point that they don’t have to recruit sources to report parents that are being rowdy at school boards. They’ve got mainline media sources that are doing it. There are people on the school boards that are calling in the tip line and reporting. That’s what happened. The tip lines were the ones that were coming in. They didn’t have to go recruit anybody. People already knew the FBI was going to go after these parents.
If they didn’t have the same position for example, if you were a pro-CRT parent who hates guns and loves abortion and wants transgender kids using whatever bathroom they want, then you’re calling in on the traditional-type conservative parents and you’re reporting to the FBI. Some of them got investigated to the tune of at least two dozen by the time that my buddy and I pulled the files on it. We had 23 or 24 parents who were identified as potential domestic terrorist-type subjects and being tagged with that threat tag in investigations. But they didn’t have to go ask anybody, because that’s the nature of our country right now.
When I was a kid, they used to say “snitches get stitches.” “Don’t be a tattletale” is the nice version of that. Right now everybody loves to tattle, and they’re happy to have the FBI do the dirty work for their political party.
Tom: What happened there? I feel like it got accelerated. With COVID too I remember the government was telling you, “Tell on your neighbors: if they have too many cars in front of their house, call someone: Let someone know.”
Has that always been around us or is that a recent phenomenon?
Kyle: It’s recent. I mentioned this on TIMcast. We were discussing how the kids aren’t punk rock anymore.
When I was a kid, it was Damn the Man Save the Empire. That was a famous movie.
Tom: Rage Against the Machine.
Kyle: Exactly! They were all of these different entities. This was the hallmark of youth was that you push back against the establishment because that’s what youth was about. Then the funny thing is, as you grow older, you realize why the establishment exists and you defend it. That’s the natural swing for people is that they start off in a free-wheeling way. They have no responsibilities. They don’t have any tax obligations. They don’t have any children. They have no skin in the game.
One of the examples I gave is when you’re a kid, you might think it’s a good idea to steal a stop sign, because it looks really cool on your wall. You want to have a stop sign on your wall, so you go steal it. But as you’re an adult, you think, “Well, now there’s not a stop sign, and somebody could run through that stop sign and kill somebody.” That’s a consequence. But you don’t have consequences when you’re young.
Right now, what we have is a bunch of young people who are deliberately and aggressively toeing the line and forcing the establishment, which is the opposite of my entire life. I think most of American history has not been that way.
I actually called my daughter this the other day, and she was very offended because she didn’t know what it meant until I explained it. I said, “You’re kind of a square.” And she goes, “What does that mean?” My wife and I explained it to her. Historically, that’s a fifties way of saying, “Hey, you’re kind of a nerd. You’re a young person who likes the establishment.” This is the baseline for a lot of youth right now. They are pushing this weird Democrat position, this leftist position, which is a statist step-in-line… It was always a pejorative and now it’s considered a virtue.
Tom: Roasting your children is one of the great joys of parenthood for sure. It builds character; I fully believe in it.
One of the most radical things you can do today is: have a family, attend mass, be Christian. That’s what is being targeted. That’s a radical way of living.
CatholicVote followed the FOI request to figure out what’s going on [with the FBI]. What are the mechanics behind spying on Catholics or why is it happening in the first place? Who approved it? Usually what happens, to my understanding, is that the FBI will come back, narrowing the scope of what the FOI request is about. They’ll ask, “could you make it more specific what you actually want?” Then it goes back and forth for a long time. That didn’t happen. The FBI didn’t do that. We [CatholicVote] reached the period of time in which we need it back. We don’t get information back. So CatholicVote sues for that information. Now we’re going have this lawsuit.
Did any alarm bells go off when they [the FBI] didn’t narrow that request? Because typically that does happen. How long of a process are we looking at to actually get the truth on this?
Kyle: However long they can make it go. It doesn’t surprise me at all. The FBI, over the last 20-something years has moved to become a full-on intelligence agency which does not give up its secrets lightly. They’re going to defend it with “ongoing investigation” claims, which is the same thing they’ve done with the Hunter-Biden stories.
There’s the ongoing: “we have sources and methods and we must protect them.” Sources are going to be either human sources or technical sources. Methods are the ways that they obtain information and store it. They will obfuscate anything they can in order to not share it. The people that I talked to when I was doing interviews, whether it be Dan Bongino or Tucker Carlson or Jesse Waters, nobody has ever seen the FBI 1) acknowledge that a document was legit and 2) that they were going to pull it because they were embarrassed. This was a legitimate black eye.
What’s very interesting is their interest is not in “what’s the right thing? Have we done the wrong thing? How do we get back in the good graces of the American people? How do we correct this problem that we’ve created?” What they do say is, in a shocking way, “how do we protect the brand of the FBI?”
I have friends who are working in the intel community, that are part of the FBI’s intel structure. They said the meetings gave the following guidance: “Anything you write that’s unclassified could be leaked to the media. You have to write it in such a way that it doesn’t embarrass the FBI, and we need to protect the brand.” Not: “Don’t write articles or intel products that are disparaging a religious group in this country, particularly one that has a huge mainline population group that supposedly the president of the United States ascribes to.” No, that’s not what they said. They said, protect the brand, polish the badge… It’s all about messaging and imaging. It has nothing to do with whether they’re doing right and wrong.
You mentioned earlier: “the way that things are going” I think they’re trying to take the “G” from the government and replace the “G” from God. They’re trying to move down the line where human beings rely on the government. That is a very leftist position. That’s a statist position. It’s a communist, a totalitarian, you name it, position. Any of the bad things that have happened in the last 150 years have come out of “government is your solution and your savior.” That’s antithetical to a Christian position and obviously a Catholic one as well. Christians don’t accept that.
If you’re not going to accept the government to come in and run your life, then you’re not going to let the government raise your children. You’re not going to let the government impart its values, which are continuation of government and more government. You are the resistance. That goes back to exactly what we said: The resistance is people who have families that want to be self-reliant.
All these things are going to put you on the list of potential violent extremists. 266O is the actual title that the FBI has for it. It’s a domestic violence or a domestic extremist case where you are an anti-government, anti-authority, violent extremist. Which is to say you don’t think the government should run every aspect of your life; hopefully that is all of us.
Tom: Having that tag on your profile by the FBI, what is that? What are the consequences that come with that practically?
Kyle: If they actually create a case on you, that’s an intelligence case. An intelligence case is not limited by the prediction of a criminal act. In other words, no criminal allegation has to be lodged against you for them to do that [open an intelligence case].
Then they can collect on you, and they can collect on you for various reasons. I got an email the other day from Iranian state media. It was a TV reporter from PressTV in Tehran. With that contact alone, because state-sponsored media from a foreign country was reaching out to me they can open up a full intelligence case on me and they can collect whatever they want. They can get my bank records.
They can write it off with subpoenas called national security letters, (NSL). They are like a subpoena, except they’re approved by the FBI’s special agent in charge of an office and are not going through a court. They can get your bank records, your phone records. Social media history is pretty straightforward but they may be able to get more than that. They may be able to get into your eBill, all the electronic collections you’d expect, all the financials you’d expect. They could put surveillance teams on you because they’ve opened a case. They can authorize somebody to follow you around, whether it be federal air marshals like I alleged happened to me the other day, or it could be a physical surveillance team like I used to work on.
The scary thing is, if there’s no allegation of wrongdoing and they’re going to follow you around, that means that there are human beings that are saying, “yes” all along the line.
That’s the scary part to me because there is the potential for them to throw the “B.S. flag” on this stuff. I don’t think it’s happening, because people want to keep their paycheck and they want to keep their pension.
Tom: This goes back to your earlier point. The FBI says, “We have an ongoing investigation.” Senator Schumer has said, “The FBI is around to go after pedophiles or white-collar crime and things that are actually bad, not the Catholic Church.”
Where do you think philosophically the line is between an element of secrecy being necessary for the FBI and accountability for their actions?
Kyle: I think that it comes down to a criminal predicate. If there is not a criminal predicate act and they are starting an investigation based on the allegation that a federal crime happened then they have no business doing so. That’s the entire domestic intelligence apparatus, which has grown dramatically with tools like the Patriot Act,and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Those things are not law enforcement.
Now, I would love to see if we have to have a domestic intelligence apparatus at all? I’m not crazy about having one in this country. I don’t think it’s American. But if we do have to have one, there needs to be a significant and aggressive firewall that says: “these tools cannot be used by a law enforcement entity.”
I’ve been making this joke that the FBI is actually a trans-organization, that they’re having a “Bud Light moment” right now. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they have transitioned from being a full-on law enforcement agency, with maybe a 10% mission doing some intelligence work. That intelligence work was supposed to be leading towards crimes like espionage or counterproliferation. Counterproliferation is when someone takes our technologies and they go to Iran or they go to North Korea with it. They take our night vision – which we left for the Taliban, apparently.
Tom: I shouldn’t laugh, that’s not funny.
Kyle: It’s not funny, but it is funny. I mean, it’s absurd. We’re living in the Upside-Down.
In fact, all special agents are not special agents under their job title. The job title is criminal investigator. It’s a federal code. It’s a federal job position that’s known as 1811. If you look at an 800 series, that’s enforcement and investigations. 1811 specifically is a criminal investigator; that’s federal agents. Those people, they’re not special agents, they’re actually criminal investigators. But they’re putting these “criminal investigators” into intelligence investigation roles where there is no crime alleged. Anything that is non-criminal is really dangerous.
But again, just to continue the analogy, the “Bud Light moment” is when you go from being a law enforcement entity and have the badge and the gun and all the authorities that go with it, and you transition to an intel agency, but you keep the package. In the same way that some of these guys are dressing up in women’s clothing. They maintain the bulge or badge. They still have that law enforcement capability. That’s what secret police are made of. They’re made of intel plus enforcement. We can’t have it, not in this country, if we want to remain free. It’s really incredibly dangerous. I don’t think there’s any political will to get rid of it either, though. That’s the scary thing.
Tom: Yeah, “secret police” – those two words combined don’t have a good history I’d say.
Kyle: No, of course not, especially not for religious people.
Tom: Definitely not for religious people. Kyle, I have you here, I want to talk about some other FBI topics. One that recently came on: Jorge Santos is now being charged with fraud for a $500 COVID-era payment. Of all the things that he has lied about, that seems like a pretty small one.
What was interesting about the story to me, was not that he was being charged, it was that someone had come out to say “the FBI had approached me to become a source.” That word “source” once again. That’s how we get to the bottom of this.
It seems like the FBI was being used to target a political opponent because they had to really dig to go find this.
Was that surprising to you that that was happening or is that a standard operating procedure for the FBI to just implant sources in politicians?
Kyle: Yes and no is the answer.
When I was working counterintelligence, I was told in no uncertain terms that if we wanted to get a source into a member of Congress’ Staff or to be targeting anybody as an employee of a co-equal branch of government, then we needed special permissions.
My understanding was, and I could be mistaken in this, that you actually had to get permission from Congress to do that. I don’t know if that comes out of the speaker’s office or if that comes out of the leader of the Senate. I don’t know who decides that you get permission. But it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen, so don’t even worry about it. That’s the way I took it.
Then I was told in the months since I’ve been a whistleblower and been out of it, I’ve had people reach out to me that were former intelligence analysts that said that’s mistaken, that “we do this all the time.” The FBI gets sources into members of Congress, and there are a shocking number of them….
Tom: So my question to you then is, if you had to guess, how many sources are put in other Congress people’s offices? And do you think we’re going to see more leaks? Are the leaks going to accelerate after this Santos leak happened?
Kyle: I think that it’s possible. I can’t speculate on how many. I was told that it’s dozens, which is a lot. That’s kind of crazy.
Tom: That is crazy.
Kyle: That’s a crazy statement and I can’t validate it. It’s just information I got so we’ll take it for what it’s worth, it’s a possibility. But there are a lot of people that are reporting back to the FBI in this other theoretically co-equal branch.
Tom: I’m going to ask you a rapid fire. You’re former military. We just saw an advertisement with a drag queen advertising to recruit for the Navy.
Why are we missing our recruiting targets?
Kyle: That’s it.
Look, historically speaking, who wants to go join the military? I was 27 years old when I went in, so I can speak about what I wanted to do and I can speak about the guys that I was around. It was a bunch of red blooded, patriotic, violent, capable individuals, people who wanted to go. I went to the Air Force, which is pretty passive.
The drill instructor asked everybody in my basic training flight, “Why do you want to be in my Air Force!?” It’s kind of silly when you’re in the Air Force to act like you’re that hard. But so be it, they do it. So they ask: “Why do you want to be in my Air Force kid!?” They get to me and I’m a grown man. I’m 27 years old. I’m the same age as the drill sergeant. But the answer was typically, “I want to get my college paid for” I say, “I want to kill.” They say, “Whoa.” But that’s who joins the Marine Corps. That’s who joins the Army.
It’s financial stability, a possibility of pulling yourself out of your financial situation. If you grow up with nothing, you can go learn a skill in a trade and you can contribute to the common defense. But generally speaking, people want to go and hurt feelings and break things in places where they’re not going to be arrested for it. They could do that overseas. That’s what the US military has always been very good at. It’s still very good at it.
They’re not going there to get sex change operations when I was joining and that was only… let’s say that was only 14 years ago.
Tom: Couldn’t be that long ago, you’re a young guy.
The question is that this can’t be by accident, right? I think when people look at this, they say “oh my gosh, this is crazy. Why would anyone do that?” They’re doing it on purpose, right?
Is that a product of leadership being detestable? People like you said, because obviously it’s pushing out all of the red blooded Americans that want to go serve their country. If that is the intention, why would leadership want to do something like that?
Kyle: Well, we’re using the wrong word because it’s not leadership, it’s management. There’s a distinct possibility that we have lost leadership, particularly in the government institutions. There’s not leadership at the FBI. There’s management. People say, “my chain of command,” and I would always say “my chain of management,” because it’s really offensive to them. They like to think they’re in command, but they’re not.
The military has gone the same route. They have gone to this sort of left-leaning “experience of feelings.” Whether it be pushing the trans-agenda or anything else, all of these things weaken the United States military.
It does two things. Number one, it gets you a compliant, subservient population that’s willing to do what they’re told because that’s their value set. That’s very dangerous. Even if they’re not capable of standing up to a patriotic, red-blooded, freedom-fighting type of people domestically, what it does show you is that it’s a bunch of people that have all the very sophisticated tools that say “yes,” when they should say, “I don’t think so” or “no, that’s immoral.” When you get compliant types in these things, it does seem very calculated.
The second thing is it degrades most people’s faith in institutions. I don’t know if that’s a goal or if that’s a symptom that they are trying to avoid. They probably want us to trust them. But amusingly, it degrades. People used to believe in the FBI when I was a kid, and when I joined. You think the FBI was probably okay, that it had some flaws like everybody else, but it was generally good. I don’t believe that anymore. I’ve seen the inside of it. That’s not a good feeling. Most people don’t trust our government as a whole, but they are getting very specific about distrust as well.
Tom: Speaking of trust, why do we not have the manifesto of the national shooter? But we know absolutely every detail of the Texas shooter’s life?
Kyle: Yeah, why? I think once again, they’re hiding because they think it’ll blow over. The media cycle goes quickly. Let me share what I know, or what I’ve been told is going on. Because it’s a small community, people saw that manifesto, right? The cop that picked it up and put it into an evidence bag, the people that booked it into evidence, the people that had to write it up for intelligence purposes.
Tom: What gives you solace? What do you fall back on when you feel discouraged and you feel like you’re not making the impact or what you’re doing is so counter to everything? What keeps you going?
Kyle: So I told someone at one point that I go to bed defeated every single night and I wake up again every morning and get ready to fight. I put on my armor and go back to work.
It’s because I have kids. That’s the only reason I have.
If it wasn’t for the kids then maybe I’d go live in Africa and sell all my possessions, or I’d go live in Latin America or run around and just be a ne’er do well. Why else would you care about what the world looks like unless you know that it’s going to be for people that you love and they’re going to outlast you?
I have three little ones, I have another one on the way. I have a lot of skin in this game. So I’m committed to making sure that this country at least doesn’t go down without a fight. I’m not saying we’re going to win. I always try to remember and remind people there is nothing in any faith tradition that says that the United States of America will triumph and conquer evil at some point. Many, many empires have fallen, including ones that were inspired by and supported by the Church. There’s no ultimate assurance that we win. “We,” meaning the people who want to live in America the way that I grew up.
Tom: That’s least temporally, you do know we win in the end.
Kyle: That is right. But on this earth, in this particular nation, does it survive? I don’t know. I’m going to try. I believe in the moniker someone told me at one point, they said: “Cry out to God for help, but also row for the shore.” You don’t sit in the boat and wait for the wave to carry you in and do nothing. You have to do your part.
My part is to wake up every day to tell people what I know. I have to tell people what I believe. I have to bring on voices that I think are valuable. I just had a guy from the State Department on this morning. The goal is to give people the tools to push back in their own way, to give people the tools to be able to hold their representatives accountable and so on.
I never wanted this life. I never wanted to be in the media. I never wanted to be a journalist. I had the opportunity, but I don’t really have a choice in some ways because it is the way to fight right now. It’s an information war until it becomes a thematic war.
Tom: Thanks for coming on and I really appreciate the time. And best of luck with all your endeavors.
Kyle: Sounds good. It was fun. Thanks, Tom.