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FBI Director Accused of Hypocrisy for Monitoring Conservatives but Not Pro-Hamas Protests

April 25, 2024

The director of the FBI is being accused of hypocrisy for allowing the targeting of concerned parents, Trump supporters, and American Catholics but not “monitoring” pro-Hamas rallies and protests on college campuses.

Director Christopher Wray was asked in an interview on Tuesday about “actively monitoring” the rallies erupting across college and university campuses, which have become the subject of controversy and condemnation from even senior government officials. Wray replied, “We don’t monitor protests.” He added, “But we do share intelligence about specific threats of violence.”

Social media users reacted, accusing Wray of hypocrisy. Conservative podcast host Graham Allen quoted Wray saying, “We don’t monitor protests,” and wrote:

“They just monitor:
Donald Trump supporters
Parents who attend a PTA meeting”

Author and conservative media commentator Jesse Kelly pointed out the FBI’s failure to investigate the vandalizing and firebombing of pregnancy resource centers, commenting:

“‘We can’t find who’s bombing pregnancy centers cause they’re doing it at night.’ — Merrick Garland
‘We don’t monitor protests.’ — Chris Wray”

Numerous social media users posted photos of known or suspected FBI agents undercover at pro-Trump rallies, alleged that the FBI embedded undercover agents at the January 6, 2021 rally at the U.S. Capitol building, or noted the FBI’s designation of parents protesting school board meetings or “radical traditionalist Catholics” as potential domestic terror threats. Referring to the infamous memo from the FBI’s Richmond field office, detailing plans to infiltrate and spy on Catholic parishes, one user commented, “I guess they are too busy monitoring Catholic churches.”

The U.S. House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government previously castigated the FBI’s memo for its reliance on biased sources, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, which lists “radical traditionalist Catholics” as a hate group, alongside neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The controversial memo, leaked early in 2023, labeled American Catholics who attend the Tridentine Mass (the form of the Mass common prior to 1969) as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” (RMVEs). The memo’s creation included communication with other FBI field offices, interviews with at least one priest and a choir director, and the approval of senior FBI lawyers. The House Committee warned, “The FBI must be held accountable for its actions. It is not enough for the FBI to investigate itself and remedy its own wrongdoings, especially when it involves law-enforcement overreach involving fundamental religious freedoms.”

But that’s what the FBI appears to have done. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz submitted a report to Congress absolving the FBI of any wrongdoing in the drafting and circulating of the memo. Horowitz wrote, “Our review did not find evidence that anyone ordered or directed Analyst 1 or 2 to find a link between RMVEs and any specific religion or political affiliation, including Church 1, or that there was any underlying policy direction concerning such a link.” The report added, “Additionally, our review of emails, instant messages, and text messages for Analysts 1 and 2 during the relevant time period did not identify any evidence of discriminatory or inappropriate comments by them about Church 1, or individuals who practiced a particular religious faith or held specific political beliefs.”

Previously, both Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland have stonewalled Congress in response to requests to interview FBI agents and analysts responsible for drafting and circulating the memo.

Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand, “The FBI shouldn’t be monitoring most protests, but when massive demonstrations are shutting down higher education institutions that threaten fellow students and incorporate genocidal slogans like ‘From the river to the sea,’ that all should pique the interest of federal law enforcement.”

She continued, “Wray’s comments are yet another hit to the FBI’s credibility after the Department of Justice’s inspector general held last week that the FBI did not commit any wrongdoing when it was looking into ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists’ that they alleged were connected to ‘radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology.’”

Del Turco added, “The FBI’s heightened concern over traditional Catholics appears especially absurd when considering the agency’s total disinterest in protestors who are threatening Jewish students on college campuses.”

Currently, pro-Hamas rallies are taking place at schools such as Ohio State University and the Ivy League Columbia and Yale universities.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.