A Department of Justice whistleblower claims the FBI ordered personnel to compile parent threat assessments, according to leaked documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee.
The FBI created a “threat tag” titled “EDUOFFICIALS” to track instances of threats against school officials, according to a joint statement sent on behalf of the Assistant Directors of the Bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division and the Counterterrorism Division, which was released the day before Garland’s testimony and leaked by a Department of Justice (DOJ) whistleblower to the committee.
In October, Garland said he could not “imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor… a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorists,” Jordan wrote in his letter. Garland also said he does “not think think that parents getting angry at school boards for whatever reason constitute domestic terrorism. It’s not even a close question.”
The statement cites Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4 memorandum, which called on the Bureau to “use its authority” against a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
“A tag is merely a statistical tool to track information for review and reporting,” a FBI spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The creation of a threat tag in no way changes the long-standing requirements for opening an investigation, nor does it represent a shift in how the FBI prioritizes threats The FBI has used tags to track everything from drug trafficking to human trafficking.”
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan said the leaked statement “calls into question the accuracy and completeness” of Garland’s sworn testimony in October, where he testified that the DOJ and FBI were “not using federal counterterrorism tools to target concerned parents at local school board meetings,” in a Tuesday letter addressed to Garland.
“We ask that your offices apply the threat tag to investigations and assessments of threats specifically directed against school board administrators, board members, teachers and staff,” the leaked FBI document said, with the purpose of helping “scope this threat on a national level” along with a “comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective engagement with law enforcement partners at all levels.”
When assessing threats, FBI personnel are asked to consider three factors: “Is there a federal nexus?” “Are there potential federal violations that can be investigated and charged?” “What’s the motivation behind the criminal activity?,” according to the leaked document.
Jordan said the leaked document provides evidence that federal law enforcement “operationalized” counterterrorism efforts at the instruction of a the National School Boards Association (NSBA), which he referred to as a “left-wing special interest group.”
On Sept. 29, the NSBA sent a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration calling on the federal government to take action and stop threats of violence directed toward school board members in what could be considered “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
While the NSBA has since apologized for its letter that equated parents to domestic terrorists, the DOJ and Garland have not walked back the Oct. 4 memorandum.
If Garland was “ignorant of the FBI’s actions” during his Oct. 21 testimony, then it was “incomplete and requires additional explanation,” but if he was aware, then he “willfully misled” the Judiciary Committee, Jordan said in his letter.
Jordan invited Garland to amend his testimony about whether or not the DOJ or its components have used counterterrorism resources or tools to investigate, track or prosecute threats regarding school board meetings.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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