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Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election, defended the FBI’s monitoring of Latin Mass Catholics, according to a Sunday report.

Former FBI special agent Kyle Seraphin released a bombshell memo in February from the agency’s Richmond, Virginia, office asserting that “violent extremists” were taking an interest in “Radical Traditionalist Catholic (RTC) Ideology” and that this presented “new opportunities for threat mitigation” via undercover sources.

Earlier this month, the FBI admitted to U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that it had already relied on at least one undercover employee to produce its analysis.

In a statement to WSET-TV, a Virginia-based television station, Kaine framed the FBI’s intent as preventing “violent extremists” from targeting “radical traditionalist Catholics” for recruitment. 

“We’ve done the same thing for years working in tandem with mosques because there have been groups that have tried to target or radicalize, especially young people,” Kaine, a self-professed Catholic, said. 

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The FBI is planning to intensify its “assessment” and “mitigation” of “Radical Traditionalist Catholics” over the next 12 to 24 months according to an explosive document from a former agent turned whistleblower.

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The bombshell 8-page memo was released by former FBI agent Kyle Serpahin on his website UncoveredDC Wednesday. The report, written by an FBI analyst in Richmond, Virginia, was published for internal agency use only on January 23, is titled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”

Seraphin describes the briefing as an “intelligence product” that, though not being exhaustive, can be used as an initial reference point for the agency to “prop up” future investigations on the subject. He says he obtained the document from an anonymous Baptist employee for the agency.

“This is the first FBI Richmond domain product to focus on the interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists in the Radical Traditional Catholic movement,” the document states. “A search of FBI databases indicates this is also the first FBI finished intelligence product to specifically address this environmental variable.”

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Among the most controversial aspects of the memo is that it directly cites a defamatory study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on the subject “Radical Traditional Catholicism.” The SPLC has long been rejected as a legitimate resource for the FBI, Seraphin says, but in this instance, it is being relied on as a primary source to justify its efforts. The memo also references three anti-Catholic smear articles (herehere, and here) published by leftwing websites Salon and The Atlantic to defend its monitoring.

The report alleges that its real motivation is a concern that “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” possesses an “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacy” outlook, and that this presents a threat to the US’s domestic well-being. The report further claims that adherents to RTC ideology “frequently share language and symbolism, such as crusader references or anti-Semitic discourses” online that pro-life white nationalists also support.

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FBI whistleblower releases docs showing agents are surveilling "Radical" Traditional Catholics in Virginia

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Kaine suggested that backlash to the report was due to a “big misunderstanding that resulted from vague wording,” according to WSET-TV, and said the “key” to avoiding this in the future is “communication.”

If the FBI has a concern like that, then go to the church leaders and say ‘Hey look, we have a concern and we don’t want your members to get unwittingly caught up in something’,” he added.

The Virginia news outlet shared that after “clarifying the matter with the FBI,” Kaine “said he helped connect Bishops with the FBI so they could further discuss these concerns with transparency.”

The FBI had disclosed to Jordan earlier this month that the Bureau had planned to contact “mainline Catholic parishes” and local “diocesan leadership,” which includes bishops, to cultivate sources to report on “suspicious activity.”

Both the original leaked FBI memo and the follow-up revelations to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary were condemned by a slew of conservatives as anti-constitutional for appearing to target certain Catholics for their religious beliefs.  

The memo identifies so-called “Radical Traditional Catholics” as typically rejecting Vatican II as a “valid council” and often holding what it describes as “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology.” It further claims that Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVEs) have “sought out” traditional Catholic worship and use so-called RTC ideology language on social media.

The document’s mention of “anti-LGBTQ” RTC beliefs appears to vilify the vast majority of traditional Catholics as well as the majority of conservative Christians, since the biblical belief that marriage only exists between a man and a woman and that homosexuality is gravely sinful is interpreted by “LGBTQ” advocates to be “anti-LGBTQ.”

In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), cited by the memo in question, even identifies legislation that prevents males from participating in women’s sports as “anti-LGBTQ.” On its website, the SPLC rejects “religious liberty” as a “guise” for what it claims are “anti-LGBTQ” beliefs.

Following intense backlash over the original memo, the FBI released a statement of retraction, saying that it did not “meet the exacting standards of the FBI” and added that it would investigate why it was issued. It appeared to concede that the memo violated the constitution, stating that the FBI “will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.” 

In response, Seraphin suggested the agency only backed off because it had been held to account. “The FBI doesn’t confirm information, but they confirmed this,” he wrote. “Because they were called out. Not because they would NEVER approve it. They approved it, and are embarrassed. This is the only way.” 

While a vice presidential nominee in 2016, Kaine was slammed by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, for his public support of abortion. Archbishop Naumann accused him of being an “orthodox” Democrat but only a “cafeteria Catholic” who picks and chooses “the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.”