House Judiciary Committee Republicans claimed in a letter on Wednesday that the FBI conducted investigations into Americans based on allegations that they threatened local school boards, citing whistleblowers from the agency.
The FBI’s counterterrorism bureau reportedly created an internal “threat tag” in fall 2021 to track alleged threats against school boards following an October 4 directive from Attorney General Merrick Garland. Garland released his directive after the National School Boards Association called on the Biden administration on September 29 to investigate parents who allegedly threatened boards over policies on school masks and critical race theory, and to determine whether the parents had violated the Patriot Act or hate crimes laws. (The NSBA subsequently apologized for releasing the letter.)
The FBI labeled “dozens” of investigations with the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS,” Representatives Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) and Mike Johnson (R., La.) claimed in their new letter on Wednesday, citing FBI whistleblowers. Jordan and Johnson wrote that the new revelations contradicted Garland’s congressional testimony denying that parents were intentionally targeted under counterterrorism procedures.
One investigation allegedly began after the FBI received a tip that a mom had told a local school board, “We are coming for you.” The complaint “alleged that the mom was a threat because she belonged to a ‘right wing mom’s group’ known as ‘Moms for Liberty,’ and because she is a ‘gun owner,'” the congressmen wrote. An FBI agent reportedly interviewed the the mom, who said she was upset about a school mask mandate and wanted to elect new board members.
In another instance, the congressmen wrote that an FBI agent interviewed a tipster who admitted he had “no specific information or observations . . . of any crimes or threats.” The tipster had submitted a complaint against an anti-mask-mandate dad, claiming that the dad “fit the profile of an insurrectionist,” and the FBI had opened an investigation into the dad.
The congressmen also claimed that the FBI began an investigation into Republican elected officials in a certain state because a Democratic state-party official claimed that the Republicans “‘incited violence’ by expressing public displeasure with school districts’ mask mandates.”
It was not immediately clear how the investigations were resolved.
Whistleblowers: The FBI has labeled dozens of investigations into parents with a threat tag created by the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division pic.twitter.com/STlLdrfbMz
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) May 11, 2022