An interim report released by the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Tuesday revealed how the Biden administration "misused its federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources on school board-related threats." It said that local law enforcement agencies were against the involvement of federal agencies in addressing alleged threats by concerned parents to school boards.
"The documents shed new light on the Administration’s coordination with education special interests to generate the predicate for the Justice Department’s actions," the report stated, adding that the documents "show there was no legitimate nationwide basis for the Attorney General’s directive to insert federal law enforcement into local school board matters."
"In fact, almost universally, local law enforcement rejected the directive and expressed strong preference that local authorities handle local matters," the report added.
Following the release of Garland’s memorandum, DOJ officials expressed confusion as to how to implement Garland’s directive.
An October 7, 2021 email from the Deputy Director of the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs to "USAEO-Public Affairs Officers," it addresses "a rash of misinformation about this memo suggesting it somehow limits parental free speech or label[s] parents as 'domestic terrorists.'"
The email included a "set of facts/talking points for use by [US Attorney Offices] in meeting with law enforcement partners, community stakeholders, and the press to keep the record straight as this process plays out."
A November 3, 2021, meeting was ordered to be held with all appropriate district law enforcement officers to address threats of violence against school employees, though the "overwhelming majority of judicial districts reported not having heard of any instances of threats or violence being levied at school board officials," the report stated.
One US Attorney reportedly stated that threats against school officials was "described by some as a manufactured issue."
Brian Frazier, the US Attorney Office’s Criminal Division Chief in the Middle District of Louisiana said that "the FBI representatives acknowledged that DOJ has seen fit to elevate perceived school board security issues to a national level. Nevertheless, they did not see any imminent threats to school boards or their members in the local [area of responsibility], nor did they ascertain any worrisome trends in that regard."
Other threats reported were to vague to be substantiated, or too innocuous as to not be of any real concern, the report stated.
"Acting US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Dennis Holes reported that "officials could remember only [one] incident" to report, and that this case involved "an irate parent, who was upset about mask mandate[s], had to be removed from a school board meeting by the school resource officer," with Holmes adding that "no threats were made to board members or school staff."
In one meeting held by the Middle District of Alabama, local law enforcement reported no threats against school officials, and instead "voiced more concern over the safety of students from other threats, such as gang and gun violence."
US Attorney Sean Costello of the Southern District of Alabama reported that one school board member’s house was shot at, but the incident was not related to a threat but rather an "unfortunate consequence of gun violence in the city."
The report stated that the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia "was an exception among US Attorney’s Offices, doubling down on the Attorney General’s directive to use domestic terrorism resources against parents."
The Northern District of Georgia reportedly activated the FBI’s domestic Terrorism Squad to be the "lead" against school board-related threats, though just one "threat of violence" was cited, which according to the report was later determined to be a hoax.
"In reports back to Main Justice, many of the US Attorneys’ Offices noted that thie local law-enforcement partners opposed federal intervention at local school board meetings," the report stated.
Assistand US Attorney for the District of Montana Joe Thaggard wrote that "[redacted] as well as the Cascade County Attorney, Cascade County Sherrif, and the Great Falls Chief od Police have all … written to [Acting US Attorney Leif] Johnson advising that the local law enforcement authorities are best suited to address criminal threats against school administrators and other school officials."
Thaggard noted, "Mr. Johnson has received telephone calls from a concerned citizen, a county attorney, and the press. Most, but not all, of those people have indicated a desire for the local authorities to handle any investigations and prosecutions."
William Ihlenfeld II, US Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, reported that "[Redacted], Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, explained his belief that most situations involving threats or harassment of school officials can be handled by state and local officials."
He added, "[Redacted], Chief of the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Police Department, said that there have been a handful of situations in Berkeley County in which attendees at board of education meetings have been boisterous and disruptive. However, he said these incidents were able to be handled at the local level without the need for federal assistance."
Steven D. Weinhoeft, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, explained that "this issue was very poorly received" among the participants to the meetings in that District and was "described by some as a manufactured issue."
"No one I spoke with in law enforcement seemed to think that there is a serious national threat directed at school boards, which gave the impression that our priorities are misapplied. Some expressed concerns that the federal government was meddling in an area where it does not belong. I heard concerns over the federal government inserting itself into issues of local politics and local choices on education. But more frequently, I heard unease over the [F]irst [A]mendment implications," he said.
Weinhoeft “advise[d] against further national action on this matter.”
In regards to the mandated meetings, US Attorneys’ Offices reported low attendance and enthusiasm at said meetings in regards to the federal intervention at school board meetings. In one Alabama meeting, just four of 30 invited organizations attended. In Illinois, of the 630 invited entities, just 18 attended.
"Internal Executive Branch documents indicate that the Biden Administration’s use of federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources is an example of government weaponization against American parents. If the Justice Department performed any due diligence prior to the issuance of the Attorney General’s memorandum, it would have understood clearly and forcefully that federal intervention was unwarranted," the report said in conclusion.
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