Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (OH) and Mike Johnson (LA) sent a letter to the US Attorney General claiming that whistleblowers have come forward and revealed that the FBI has labeled dozens of investigations into parents who protested schools’ COVID policies with a threat tag, created by the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, despite Merrick Garland having previously claimed that it never happened.
In September, The National School Boards Association (NBSA) sent a letter to the Biden administration comparing parents who protested school's COVID policies to domestic terrorists. The Justice Department issued a memo five days later directing the FBI to investigate threats to school boards.
According to the letter written by Jordan and Johnson on Wednesday, an internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions instructed agents to label all investigations and assessments of threats directed specifically at education officials with the threat tag "EDUOFFICIALS."
Jordan and Johnson wrote that the whistleblower claimed that the FBI opened investigations with the EDUOFFICIALS label in "every region of the country," on "all types of educational settings."
The congressmen cited multiple examples where someone reported a parent, or an elected official, using the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center and compared the center to a "snitch-line" for tips about parents at school board meetings.
The letter specifically cited examples, including one of the investigations where bureau agents interviewed a mother for allegedly telling a school board member "we are coming for you." The mom was reported because she belonged to a "right wing mom’s group" called "Moms for Liberty" and because she is a gun owner. The FBI eventually determined she was not a threat.
In another investigation cited by the lawmakers, agents interviewed a father who was opposed to masks. The dad was reported because he supposedly fit the profile of an "insurrectionist" and "rails against the government" and "has a lot of guns and threatens to use them." Once again, the person who reported the dad later admitted they had "no specific information or observations" of "...any crimes or threats."
Additionally, a Democratic Party official allegedly reported Republican elected officials in an undisclosed state claiming that Republicans "incited violence" because they expressed displeasure with school districts’ vaccine mandates.
Jordan and Johnson claimed that the investigations were a result of Garland’s October 4 directive to the FBI and added that the agents eventually determined that the cases did not amount to terrorist threats, rather, a waste of "valuable law-enforcement time and resources (that) could have been expended on real and pressing threats."
The congressmen wrote in their letter to Garland, "This whistleblower information raises serious concerns that your October 4 memorandum will chill protected First Amendment activity as parents will rightfully fear that their passionate advocacy for their children could result in a visit from federal law enforcement."
The letter also instructed Garland to take all "reasonable steps" to preserve all "records responsive" to the matter.
Garland had previously testified before Congress in October of 2021, that the DOJ had not deployed antiterrorism tools against parents protesting the actions of school boards. "I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism."
On Jesse Watters Primetime on Fox News Wednesday evening, Jordan said, "If you're a mom, you're a dad, you're a gun owner, you're a Republican and you're standing up for your kids, oh my goodness, look out, because here comes the FBI. And again, in a direct contradiction to what he told us under oath in the committee."
"Never forget this… remember how quickly this happened. Sept. 29, the School Board Association sends a letter to the Biden White House. Five days later, Oct. 4, Merrick Garland issues this memorandum that lays out, put this snitch line together, to go after parents. And then 16 days later, the FBI sends out the email that establishes this threat tag designation that was put on these parents. All that happened last fall in 22 days."
"When have you ever seen the federal government move that fast? So, they move that fast because they were going after people… just like the Obama White House went after, and the Obama IRS went after, conservatives. Same dynamic here."