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The FBI finally responded to our lawsuit!
Recall that we were forced to file our federal lawsuit after the agency failed to respond to our Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) demanding copies of documents and communications that led to a memo authorizing agents to begin spying on Catholic churches.
Here’s the timeline of what’s happened so far. This is important:
We filed our FOIA request on March 6…
Under federal law, the FBI had 20 business days to respond.
The FBI then requested an additional 10 days because of “unusual circumstances.”
The deadline came and went. They refused to turn over any documents.
So we sued them.
The FBI was then obligated to respond to our lawsuit. Late in the afternoon on the final day of the response deadline, attorneys for the FBI notified our legal team that they were going to request an additional 30 days from the court to respond to our lawsuit. We told them we opposed this request. The judge granted their request anyway (not unusual).
Late last Friday, on the final day of the extended deadline, they finally answered our lawsuit.
Their reply: CatholicVote and the public are “not entitled” to the requested records.
Of course, the FBI is relying on provisions of the law that protect government agencies from turning over sensitive documents that are protected. We obviously dispute this claim and will continue to press our case to the federal judge.
Earlier this week, the judge assigned to our case set a date for a “briefing schedule” where lawyers for CatholicVote and the FBI will negotiate on what happens next.
NOT BACKING DOWN: CatholicVote and our lawyers at Judicial Watch are prepared to litigate this matter to the end. We’re willing to play the long game, too. We believe Americans – and especially Catholics – have every right to know what led to the decision to authorize spying on Catholics in church!
Don’t forget, Attorney General Merrick Garland has repeatedly said he was “appalled” by this memo. And he promised Congress that there is “no bias” against Catholics whatsoever inside the Department of Justice.
Do you believe him?
Meanwhile, FBI Director Christopher Wray was grilled yesterday by members of the House Judiciary Committee. CatholicVote staff provided committee members with information related to our lawsuit and lobbied members to demand answers from Mr. Wray during his testimony.
Congressman Jim Jordan did not disappoint.
Check out this clip from yesterday’s hearings:
Mr. Wray likewise disavowed the notorious FBI memo, and avoided providing any real answers saying there is an “internal review” underway.
Nevertheless, as of today, we are still being blocked from uncovering what led to this memo, who was behind it, and whether anyone has been reprimanded or been fired. Most importantly, we still don’t know whether the FBI has ever – or is now – spying on Catholics.
Rest assured that this fight is far from over.
We are not backing down.
We will pursue every legal avenue available to us, and will continue to press members of Congress to use their oversight power, and their control of the FBI budget, to demand answers and reforms.
Thank you as always for your support of our work.
This effort would not be possible without you.