- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2022

House Republican lawmakers are pressing the Department of Justice to detail its actions to fight politically motivated cyberattacks against religious and conservative Americans.

GOP members of the House Oversight Committee, including ranking member Rep. James Comer of Kentucky and Rep. Michael McCloud of Texas, the top Republican on the panel’s economic and consumer policy subcommittee, said they want a briefing from Attorney General Merrick Garland and Justice officials on what is being done about recent cyberattacks targeting Christian websites and charitable donation portals, as well as how the government can prevent future attacks. 

“We are concerned about recent cyberattacks against Christian websites and charitable donation portals carried out due to their support of conservative values and causes,” the Republican lawmakers wrote. “Direct attacks against religious people deserve no place in our society and undermine the ability of citizens to express their viewpoints without fear of harmful retribution.”

According to the GOP members, since the leak of the Dobbs abortion decision at the Supreme Court this summer, pro-life organizations, crisis pregnancy centers and Christian organizations have increasingly been targeted by radical groups and hackers online. 

“The Department of Justice must investigate these attacks, which are likely unlawful and clearly intended to chill the right of our citizens to peacefully express their opinions on matters of public importance as well as donations to conservative or religious organizations. Citizens in this country should be free to exercise their rights without fear of malicious cyberattacks,” the GOP lawmakers said.

Hackers recently infiltrated websites tied to Christian organizations that oppose abortion, seeking to steal internal data maintained by those organizations and leak the information. 

“The hackers mocked the rule of law and a conservative religious organization, taunting, ‘[W]e decided to bring about some much needed radical transparency by taking it upon ourselves to make your list of donors public,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Washington Times reached out to the Justice Department for comment and did not immediately hear back.

They continued, “That hack follows on the heels of another attributed to the hacking group ‘Anonymous,’ which commandeered the website of the Texas Republican Party because of its pro-life support. A self-described “cyberterrorist” also took credit in February for hacking the Christian fundraising website GiveSendGo after its platform was used by Canadian truckers protesting COVID-19-related restrictions.”

The Republican lawmakers also accused majority Democrats on the House Oversight Committee of ignoring recent attacks against crisis pregnancy centers, involving firebombings and arson by a group calling itself “Jane’s Revenge.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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