Leaked FBI Memo Citing Southern Poverty Law Center Warning ‘White Supremacy’ Embedded in ‘Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology’ Rescinded

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Richmond Division has reportedly rescinded a leaked memo that cited the discredited radical Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) warning that “white supremacy” has “found a home” in traditionalist Catholics.

Former FBI special agent Kyle Seraphin revealed Wednesday at UnCoverdc.com that the federal agency’s Richmond Division released a “finished intelligence product dated January 23, 2023” that cited the disgraced leftist SPLC to warn Virginians about Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists” (RMVE) and “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics.”

“The document assesses with ‘high confidence’ the FBI can mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics by recruiting sources within the Catholic Church,” Seraphin cited the document, adding a footnote further explains the term ‘RTCs’:

RTCs are “typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council.” The writer makes an unsubstantiated leap that a preference for the Catholic Mass in Latin instead of the vernacular and a number of more traditional views on other world religions can amount to an “adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.”

Seraphin noted the appendices to the document that cited “a number of articles and the out-of-FBI policy Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).”

The FBI whistleblower continued:

For example, Appendix D is a direct copy of the SPLC list of “Radical Traditional Catholicism Hate Groups,” including the web address accessed. The SPLC appears to be a source for the intelligence analyst’s beliefs that RTCs exist and that they are anti-Semitic. The SPLC description for this “hate group” states RTCs “may make up the largest single group of serious anti-semites in America.” Often in the intelligence world, this type of statement without any established evidence is often followed by the acronym “NFI” or “No Further Information” to indicate it is an unsubstantiated opinion. Additionally, SPLC states RTCs “embrace extremely conservative social ideals with respect to women.” Nothing reported by the SPLC indicates the number of adherents to this alleged ideology nor any instances of violence.

“This lack of evidence and blatant partisan blindness is one of many reasons the FBI has distanced itself from the SPLC as a source in the past 10 years,” Seraphin observed, noting the author of the “intelligence product” also cited two other far-left sources: Salon and The Atlantic.

“The impetus of the writer can be assessed by the fixation on abortion and the repeated use of the phrase ‘abortion rights,’” Seraphin added about the author of the FBI document. “Documents like these can be used to drive the FBI’s priorities in specific regions and boost the visibility of non-existent threats.”

The document ends “with the incredible leap that RMVEs or white supremacists pose a threat to use ‘RTC social media sites’ (no examples) or ‘places of worship as facilitation platforms to promote violence,’” Seraphin wrote.

In withdrawing the report on “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology,” the FBI told the Daily Signal Thursday in an email:

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. 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. 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.

Seraphin noted in his memo as well the bureau is “forbidden from opening cases or publishing products based solely on First Amendment-protected activities.”

“By tolerating the publishing of intelligence products as shoddy as this, they are crossing a line many Americans will find themselves on the wrong side of for the first time in history,” he added nevertheless. “This is what a politicalized FBI looks like; it should not be tolerated if Americans expect to enjoy the protections of our Bill of Rights.”

In reviewing this case of anti-Catholicism as one of the many signs the Western world is “at war” with Catholics in general, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, wrote Thursday, “Why then the war on RTCs? What’s next? A war on Catholics who are orthodox and who summarily reject the morally debased society that militant secularists have created?”

“Make no mistake, we are not done with this FBI story,” Donohue added.

CatholicVote also cited the FBI document in its petition calling upon House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) to hold the bureau accountable for anti-Catholic hostility.

In a letter Friday to Jordan, the national, lay-organized, faith advocacy organization wrote to express its “concern and outrage at the extremely worrisome escalation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against people who hold certain principles, especially the beliefs of the Catholic Church.”

“According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘homosexual acts’ are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and ‘contrary to the natural law,’” the organization noted. “The SPLC and their allies in the FBI seemingly consider that teaching of the Catholic Church as ‘anti-LGBTQ ideology.’”

“In fact, the SPLC has placed an organization, The Ruth Institute, on their ‘hate group’ watch list specifically because the Catholic founder said that same-sex acts are ‘intrinsically disordered’ – a direct quotation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” CatholicVote added.

In April 2019, pro-family and faith organizations purchased an ad in the Wall Street Journal that urged media and tech industry magnates to end reliance on the SPLC’s designation of conservative and Christian organizations as “hate groups.”

At the time, the SPLC had recently been accused of racism, corruption, and sexual harassment by its own employees, and some of the group’s top-level officials left the radical group in the wake of those accusations.

“The bigotry and racial discrimination described by its former employees is evidence of SPLC’s hypocrisy,” the ad noted. “The SPLC has become a hate-for-cash machine that has weaponized its hate labeling of groups and individual people.”

“As SPLC collected hundreds of millions in donations, it expanded its definition of “hate” to non-violent conservative, Christian, and parent organizations who opposed the SPLC’s political agenda,” the ad explained. “Now, the SPLC’s hate for cash machine has been described by within as a ‘highly profitable scam.’”

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Traditional Latin Mass” by Servants of the Holy Family. CC BY 4.0.



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