It sure looks like it. Merrick Garland's "denial" really isn't one.

In a heated exchange with Gestapo chief Merrick Garland at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) directly challenged Garland’s viciously corrupt and politicized “Justice” Department, and zeroed in on the once-respected agency’s targeting of traditionalist Roman Catholics. While Garland maintained, in the teeth of the available evidence, that the department is not actually targeting Catholics, he claimed not to know how many spies and informants the feds have in those hotbeds of terrorism, traditional Catholic parishes. In other words, he didn’t say they didn’t have any such spies and informants. So if you’re Catholic, be watchful: the guy in the pew behind you could be taking notes.

Hawley began by asking Garland: “The FBI field office in Richmond, on the 23rd of January of this year, issued a memorandum in which they advocated for, and I quote, ‘the exploration of new avenues for trip-wire and source development against Traditionalist Catholics’ — it’s their, their language — ‘including those who favor the Latin Mass.’ Attorney General, are you cultivating sources and spies in Latin Mass parishes and other Catholic parishes around the country?”

Garland appeared to be rattled, but his response was unequivocal: he was on Hawley’s side, doncha know. “No,” said the ferociously partisan attorney general, “the Justice Department does not do that and does not, uh, um, do investigations based on religion. I saw the document you sent.” At that point, Hawley shot back, “What did you do about it?”

Garland, however, ignored this salient question and plowed on: “It’s appalling. It’s appalling. I’m in complete agreement with you. I understand that the FBI has withdrawn it and it’s now looking into how this could ever have happened.”

That all sounded great, but Garland was disingenuous in implying that this was some bizarre mistake that inexplicably happened. The memo arose from the far-Left culture that is now deeply rooted in the FBI and the Justice Department. But Garland, as the foremost exponent of that culture, was not about to acknowledge its existence.

Hawley pressed him nevertheless, asking, “How did it happen?” Garland responded, “That’s what they’re looking into. But I’m totally in agreement with you, that document is appalling.” Hawley then confronted Garland directly about the feds’ Leftism: “I’ll tell you how it happened. The — this memorandum, which is supposed to be intelligence, cites extensively the Southern Poverty Law Center, which goes on to identify all of these different Catholics as being part of hate groups. Is, is this how the FBI, under your direction and leadership, is, is this how they do their intelligence work? They look, they look at Left-wing advocacy groups to target Catholics? Is this what’s going on? I mean, clearly it is. How is this happening?”

Garland, however, maintained his denial, insisting: “The FBI is not targeting Catholics, and, and as I’ve said, this is an, uh, an inappropriate memorandum, and it doesn’t reflect the methods that the FBI is supposed to be using, should not be relying on any single organization without doing its own work.”

But Hawley persisted: “Let me just ask you, as my time expires here, a very direct question. How many informants do you have in Catholic churches across America?”

It was then that Garland gave his most unintentionally revealing answer of the entire hearing:

I don’t know, and I don’t believe we have any informants aimed at Catholic churches. We have a rule against, uh, investigations based on First Amendment, um, activity, and uh, uh, uh, Catholic churches are obviously, uh, First Amendment activity. But I don’t know the specific answer to your question.

It was astonishing enough that Garland couldn’t say unequivocally that the feds have no spies in Catholic churches, and essentially he admitted that they might. Meanwhile, he blathered on about the First Amendment. The loophole and evasion in Garland’s statement here is that the investigations in Catholic churches aren’t going on because of anything related to Catholic worship. Thus Garland can maintain that his department respects “First Amendment activity.” The spies and informants who may be in Catholic churches today are related to Catholic pro-life activism, which Garland’s irremediably corrupt Justice Department clearly regards as a manifestation of the “right-wing extremism” that it keeps assuring us is the biggest terror threat the nation faces today.

In closing, Hawley skewered Garland for his evasion of responsibility: “You don’t know the specifics of anything, it seems, but apparently on your watch, this Justice Department is targeting Catholics, targeting people of faith, specifically for their faith views.” Indeed. The sinister authoritarian Garland knows what a firestorm he would ignite if he admitted it, though. So expect the denial and stonewalling to continue. But his answer on Wednesday about spies in churches was revealing enough in itself.

Onward and upward