RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter to the FBI and U.S. Attorney General this week after a now-public internal FBI memo targeted Catholics and labeled them as “violent extremists.”
On Friday, Feb. 10 Miyares sent a letter joined to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. regarding an internal memo created by the Richmond FBI field office. According to a statement from Miyares, the memo targeted some Catholics as a potential threat due to their religious beliefs.
The memo became public on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.
In the memo, the FBI suggests that there are Catholics who are “radical-traditionalists” and could be “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.” The memo further says that “violent extremists” include Catholics who prefer a Latin Mass. Latin Masses differ from other types of Catholic Mass because they are not only performed in Latin, these services also follow a different calendar and use different prayers.
The memo also suggests that the FBI start recruiting Catholics to spy on other parishioners.
“Virginia is the birthplace of religious freedom and has a long history of protecting the inalienable right to live your faith free from government interference or intimidation,” Miyares wrote in a release. “Virginians should not and will not be labeled ‘violent extremists’ by their government because of how they worship, or because of their beliefs.”
The FBI memo was an internal document that was not meant to be public knowledge, but the Office of the Attorney General is demanding to know why the memo was written in the first place. In the letter, the office requested a full explanation of the document’s origins and information on whether the FBI followed through with infiltrating houses of worship.
Attorney General Miyares’ letter was signed by the Attorneys General of 19 other states.
The Richmond FBI field office has not released a statement as of Saturday, Feb. 11.