FBI: Bugging Catholic Confessionals

J.M. Porup filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking #

1369356-000, DOJ-AP-2017-003692

Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents


From: Jens Porup

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Statistics on the number of times per year the FBI bugs Catholic Church confessionals.

Please interpret "bug" to mean both physical listening devices and hacking cell phones to eavesdrop on any conversations that take place inside of a confessional booth in a Catholic Church both inside the United States and anywhere else in the world.

Please include a break down of number of incidents per year, per geographic region, and any legal memos or other notes justifying the practice.

Reason for FOIA: In March, 2017, FBI Director Comey publicly stated that "Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America."

From this we may conclude that the FBI sometimes collects and listens to privileged parishioner-priest conversations in a confessional booth.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Jens Porup

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A no responsive documents response.

From: J.M. Porup

Given Director Comey's remarks that Americans have no right to privacy "with our clergy members," it is hard to believe the FBI never bugs Catholic Church confessionals.


From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

04/25/2017 04:34 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-003692

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-003692 has been processed with the following final disposition: Affirmed on Appeal -- No records.

  • Porup, Jens FBI 17-003692 (5-4-17) affirm.search.no.records