The FBI responded on Friday to a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group and claimed that the group is “not entitled” to records regarding the agency’s targeting of Catholics in a memo from January, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Catholic Vote filed a lawsuit in April against the agency after it failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the FBI’s targeting of Catholics.
The FBI issued a seven-page response to the lawsuit and rejected Catholic Vote’s assertion that the organization has a right to know about the FBI’s records regarding Catholics and a January memo that targeted Roman Catholics as potential domestic terrorists, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The remaining paragraphs of this subsection of the Complaint consist of Plaintiffs’ characterization of the relief sought in this action, to which no response is required,” the FBI wrote. “To the extent that a response is required, Defendant denies the allegations and denies that Plaintiffs are entitled to the relief requested or to any relief whatsoever … Plaintiffs are not entitled to compel the production of records, or portions thereof, properly protected from disclosure by one or more FOIA exemptions or exclusions.”
The FBI was forced in February to retract a memo that showed the FBI’s field office in Richmond was considering infiltrating groups of traditionalist Roman Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass and noted the FBI’s concerns that racially motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) could use traditional Catholic parishes and social media accounts as “facilitation platforms to promote violence.”
The agency was heavily criticized for its targeting of Catholics and prompted Catholic Vote to file multiple FOIA requests for FBI information on Catholics, all of which were subsequently denied or ignored, according to Catholic Vote.
In the FBI’s response, it explained that although the agency had not fulfilled its obligations to make its “final determination as to Plaintiffs’ FOIA requests” by the deadline of April 19, the agency did make a determination by declining the requests a day later.
“To date neither the @FBI nor @TheJusticeDept have provided any evidence that this unconstitutional spying on Catholics has been stopped. ‘Trust us’ is not enough,” Catholic Vote wrote.
The FBI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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