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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

FBI director reveals ‘pretty significant’ uptick in violence against pro-life clinics

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that there has been a “pretty significant” uptick in violence against pro-life reproductive facilities since the Dobbs decision. According to data from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, at least 12 defendants have been charged in cases involving violence and other misconduct directed at reproductive health care providers in 2023.

Four of the cases involved pro-life facilities. The charges include Civil Rights Conspiracy and FACE Act offenses, which prohibits threats of force or obstruction intended to interfere with reproductive health care services. 

“Most of the investigations that we’ve opened since the Dobbs decision, probably about 70% of them, have been violence against pro-life facilities,” Wray said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.   

In 2022, 36 people were charged in similar cases involving reproductive health care facilities including Planned Parenthood and abortion facilities. Attorney General Merrick Garland has been criticized for the disparity in prosecutions against those who attacked abortion clinics compared to those who targeted pro-life facilities. Garland said attacks and actions against abortion facilities are easier to prosecute because they often happen during the day and are caught on camera. 

During the July 12 hearing, the FBI director was also asked about a now withdrawn memo by the FBI’s Richmond field office which warned of the potential for racially motivated violent extremism in “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology.” The memo suggested building sources inside churches. 

Wray did not defend the memo. 

“As soon as I found out about it, I was aghast and ordered it withdrawn and removed from FBI systems,” Wray said. 

Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio then asked, “You think priests should be informants inside the church, director?”

“We do not recruit, open or operate confidential human sources to infiltrate, target, report on religious organizations,” Wray said. 

“But that’s not what this said. It sounds like you were trying to do it in Richmond, Virginia,” Jordan interjected.  

“No, sir,” Wray said. 

“You can assure us that this didn’t happen,” Jordan asked. 

“That product did not, as best as we can tell, result in any investigative action,” Wray responded. 

Wray said an internal review will hopefully determine why the document was written in the first place.  

Chairman Jordan wants to reduce FBI funding next year to rein in what he described as abuse. Jordan wants to eliminate funding for a new FBI headquarters and wants to tie funding to policy changes, like requiring the bureau to record interviews. 

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FBI Director Christopher Wray just told Congress that there has been a significant uptick in violence against pro-life reproductive facilities since the Dobbs decision. Take a look. 

 

FBI Director Christopher Wray: “In fact most of the investigations that we’ve opened since the Dobbs decision, probably about 70% of them, have been violence against pro-life facilities.”  

 

According to data from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, at least 12 defendants have been charged in cases involving violence and other misconduct directed at reproductive health care providers in 2023. The charges include Civil Rights Conspiracy and FACE Act offenses, which prohibits threats of force or obstruction intended to interfere with reproductive health care services. 

 

During the hearing – the FBI Director was also asked about a now withdrawn memo by the FBI’s Richmond field office which warned of the potential for racially motivated violent extremism in quote: “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology”. It suggested building sources inside churches. 

 

Wray did not defend the memo. 

 

Wray: “As soon as I found out about it, I was aghast and ordered it withdrawn and removed from FBI systems.”

 

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio: “you think priests priests should be informants inside the church director?”

Wray: “we do not recruit open or operate confidential human sources to infiltrate target report,”

Jordan: “but that’s not on religious said it sounds like you were trying to do it in Richmond, Virginia.” 

Wray: “No, sir. No words. This just didn’t happen.” 

Jordan: “You can assure us that this didn’t happen.” 

Wray: “That product had did not do as best as we can tell result in any investigative action.” 

 

Chairman Jordan wants to reduce FBI funding next year to rein in what he says is abuse. Jordan wants to eliminate funding for a new FBI headquarters and wants to tie funding to policy changes, like requiring the bureau to record interviews. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.