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Speaker of the House Mike JohnsonShutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) — House Speaker Mike Johnson denounced the FBI for targeting Americans “of faith,” including conservative Catholics. 

In an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Daily Signal, Johnson pledged to “hold those responsible” for persecution of conservative and religious Americans “accountable.” He addressed the targeting of Latin Mass attendees, pro-life activists, and outspoken parents of public-school children.

Before he was elected speaker last week, Johnson had called the FBI to account for its weaponization as a member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the Judiciary Committee.

Together with fellow representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Darrell Issa of California, Johnson signed a letter to the FBI sounding the alarm about a “purge” of conservative employees within the organization as well as retaliation against a whistleblower who made “protected disclosures” to Congress, demanding an interview with the FBI’s Executive Assistant Director of Human Resources.

Johnson underscored the fact that Congress has “jurisdiction over a lot of these areas of concern” in his interview with The Daily Signal.

“I’ve made it very clear that, in my view, the evidence shows that, the FBI, for example, in the last couple of years has been weaponized,” Johnson said.

“We have the evidence to show it,” he continued. “They have, in some cases, targeted people of faith. They’ve targeted conservative Catholics and concerned parents at school board meetings and all the rest. The evidence is very clear that that’s happened.”

Johnson went on to point out that the FBI has largely lost its credibility due to its political persecution of conservatives.

“We have to ensure that the FBI is a trusted institution,” he said. “And right now, it’s not, by large numbers of Americans because of this evidence that they’ve seen.”

“We owe it to the people to have accountable federal agencies that work for them, that serve and protect them, and don’t unfairly label them or target them. And we’ve had more of the latter and less of the former. We’ve got to get back to what these agencies were designed to do,” Johnson concluded.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has come under heated criticism for abusing the powers of the Department of Justice by targeting conservatives, pro-lifers, and Catholics in recent years. 

In October 2021, Garland ordered federal authorities to be ready to prosecute parents and other citizens who spoke out against COVID regulations and the framing of sex and race discussion in classrooms. The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government concluded there was “no legitimate basis” for this targeting. 

Last year, pro-life activist Mark Houck was subjected to a dawn raid by Biden’s FBI last year, with dozens of heavily armed agents swarming the family’s property. The DOJ charged Houck with two felonies for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act for pushing an abortion clinic “escort” during sidewalk altercations in 2021 after Houck repeatedly asked the man to stop harassing his son.

Then, earlier this year, former FBI agent turned whistleblower Kyle Seraphin released an eight-page internal document sent January 23, indicating the FBI in Richmond, Virginia planned to conduct surveillance to intercept “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” who have allegedly found common ground with “radical-traditionalist Catholic (RTC) ideology.”

The FBI backpedaled on the memo the day after the leak, saying the document had failed to meet its “exacting standards.”

Despite the retraction, the memo sparked extensive backlash, earning the condemnation of Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, the editors of two Catholic news outlets named in the memo, namely The Remnant’s Michael Matt and Catholic Family News’ Brian McCall, and the attorneys general of 19 states.

The DOJ has also been accused of weaponizing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act against peaceful pro-lifers in order to cover up infanticide committed by notorious abortionist Cesare Santangelo.