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.
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.
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."