by Katelynn Richardson
Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy and Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for answers about the FBI’s alleged spying on a pro-life group.
Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) alleges that an FBI informant infiltrated and recorded their meeting on Jan. 19 at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The individual believed to be an informant, who goes by the name Eric Mike Santos, wasn’t personally known to other attendees, the group said in its Feb. 22 press release.
“Allegations that the FBI is spying on pro-life gatherings in tandem with the rise in high-profile FBI investigations into pro-life Americans raise well-founded concerns for millions of Americans,” wrote Roy and Cruz in their letter. “The American people deserve the truth – are their tax dollars and federal law enforcement agencies being used to spy on pro-life Americans?”
“We are so grateful to Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Chip Roy for continuing to care about this issue, putting a spotlight on what the FBI is doing and what is happening to babies,” Terrisa Bukovinac, PAAU Founder and Executive Director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Bukovinac told the DCNF that the group vetted everyone at the Jan. 19 meeting, sending out the address just one hour before the event to avoid pro-abortion activists showing up. Santos’ Facebook page showed him tagged in photos with other pro-life activists, so he was approved. His page has since been deleted.
“He arrived late to the meeting, was wearing a black mask, and left early, likely a strategy to avoid engagement by any of the legitimate attendees,” PAAU said in its press release. “It is for these reasons and others that ‘Santos’ is believed to be an informant with the FBI and the source of the recording.”
Santos also emailed staff after the meeting for further details about getting involved in the organization, asking for information like the script used to make calls to abortion centers, Bukovinac told the DCNF. Later, a Twitter account using the name “Eric Mike” began following members of the group. One activist commented “good evening mr.federal agent sir.” The account was later deleted.
PAAU says the recording believed to have been made by Santos was used in court as evidence to show Lauren Handy, PAAU director of activism, violated the terms of her release in an ongoing case, which prevent her from entering an abortion facility. Handy was charged under the FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) last March with eight other pro-life activists for creating “a blockade to stop the Clinic from providing, and patients from obtaining, reproductive health services,” according to the indictment.
The recording played during the Feb. 21 trial showed Handy speaking about plans for a “nonviolent direct action tactic” on Jan. 21 called #PinkRoseRescue, which involves activists handing out roses and resources inside a clinic building. Handy did not intend to participate in the event herself, according to PAAU.
When the group arrived on Jan. 21, police were already at the abortion center. Bukovinac told the DCNF the presence was “suspicious,” given that there are 21 other abortion facilities accessible by metro in D.C.
The FBI has recently come under fire for its targeting of pro-life activists. During a Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday hearing, Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called the FBI’s raid of Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck’s family home while his children were present a “disgraceful performance.”
Houck was charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act but found not guilty in January.
Whistleblower testimony obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation also reveals one FBI whistleblower had a “confidential human source” who was pro-life.
During his testimony to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Feb. 10, FBI whistleblower Garret O’Boyle said he has “a confidential human source who was a prolife person,” which the Bureau requested he ask “a bunch of questions about the threats to the Supreme Court.”
O’Boyle also said the FBI created a “threat tag” used to target pro-life individuals following the overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
– – –
Katelynn Richardson is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising” by Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising.