The FBI finally sent us files.
Only after a court forced them…
At long last, the FBI handed over the documents to our legal team.
That’s because time ran out (again) for the FBI in our months-long legal battle to get their records surrounding the “radical traditionalist Catholic” memo – also known as the “Richmond memo.”
What we got this time was only 131 barely-readable pages. And more than 200 pages concealed in their entirety.
And yet, FBI Director Christopher Wray still insists that he has “nothing” to hide.
Recall that we were forced to file our federal lawsuit – along with our allies at Judicial Watch – 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 Obama-appointed judge granted it anyway.
A month later, we had their reply: CatholicVote and the public are “not entitled” to the requested records.
The FBI got yet another extension before finally this past week, turning over 131 heavily redacted pages of emails, records, and memos. And those 200+ blank pages.
You’re likely asking: Is there anything we can glean from these documents?
There are still many questions that remain unanswered, but what is clear is that the leaked FBI memo targeting Catholics created significant alarm within the agency – and that the FBI is far more concerned with the negative publicity and covering their tracks than it is with transparency and respecting the First Amendment right to practice our faith.
This kind of religious discrimination cannot be tolerated in a free nation.
And we will not tolerate it.
NOT BACKING DOWN: CatholicVote and our partners 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!
Nevertheless, as of today, they are still prevaricating around the central questions: what led to this memo, who was behind it, and has anyone been reprimanded or fired? Most importantly, we still don’t know whether the FBI is still spying on Catholics.
Rest assured that this fight is far from over.
We are not going away.
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.
Together, we will continue to press until we get the truth.