The FBI has come under criticism after a leaked document was published on the UncoverDC website by former FBI special agent and federal whistleblower Kyle Seraphin.
The memo, titled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities”, focused on the far-right white nationalist movement and its relation to Radical-Traditionalist Catholics (RTCs).
The January 23 document claimed that RTCs are a small minority of the Catholic Church and adhere to “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT and white supremacy” ideology. Additionally, they prefer the “traditional Latin mass” and reject the Second Vatican Council and all popes elected since then.
The memo also had a list of Catholic organizations that are defined as hate groups by civil rights advocates such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which the document cited.
Organizations including the Catholic Apologetics International in Pennsylvania and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in New Hampshire were listed among the hate groups.
Following the news of the memo, the FBI has since confirmed to multiple news sites that they have removed the document from their systems, as it did not meet “exacting standards.”
“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 statement read, Newsweek reported.
“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,” it added.
“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.”
This action has sparked criticism from many conservative figures, with many on the right condemning the FBI for investigating activity protected by the First Amendment.