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FBI opened multiple investigations into protesting parents, GOP lawmakers say

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 5/12/2022 Jeremiah Poff
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The FBI has opened multiple investigations into parents protesting education policies, including a father who was upset over mask mandates, according to new whistleblower revelations.

The FBI’s activities were publicly revealed in a letter Wednesday from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to Attorney General Merrick Garland. The specifics of the FBI’s investigations were disclosed to lawmakers by whistleblowers.

Garland directed the FBI and the Department of Justice to form a joint task force in October 2021 to investigate threats against school board members after the National School Boards Association asked the Biden administration in a September 2021 letter to investigate parents protesting at school board meetings as domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act.

NSBA KNEW ABOUT GARLAND SCHOOL BOARDS MEMO BEFORE IT WAS PUBLISHED, EMAILS SHOW

Garland issued the memo forming the task force a week after the NSBA sent its letter. After public outcry, the association apologized for sending the letter and withdrew it as numerous state school board associations announced they were disassociating with the national organization.

Despite the NSBA's backtrack, Garland said the substance of the letter was still relevant and defended his memo in late October testimony to the House and Senate judiciary committees. In January, emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showed that Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona had solicited the NSBA's letter to the administration.

"The information we have received shows how, as a direct result of your directive, federal law enforcement is using counterterrorism resources to investigate protected First Amendment activity," House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) wrote in the letter.

The representatives said the information shared by "brave whistle blowers" indicated that the FBI had opened investigations under a previously disclosed "threat tag" that categorized reported threats in "almost every region of the country and relating to all types of educational settings."

The letter cited three examples of incidents the FBI deemed worthy of an investigation.

In one example, the FBI interviewed a mother who had told her school board, "We're coming for you," after a tip told the FBI she was a threat due to her membership in the parent activist organization Moms for Liberty and because she owned a gun.

In another case, the FBI interviewed someone who had filed a tip alleging that a father who opposed mask mandates in schools "fit the profile of an insurrectionist" and likewise owned guns. The individual who filed the tip admitted under questioning that "they had 'no specific information or observations of ... any crime threats.'"

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The final example cited by Jordan and Johnson was an FBI field office that opened an investigation into Republican elected officials in a state after a Democratic Party official filed a tip claiming that the Republicans had "incited violence" by "expressing displeasure with school districts' vaccine mandates."

"This whistleblower information is startling," Jordan and Johnson wrote. "Although FBI agents ultimately—and rightly—determined that these cases did not implicate federal criminal statutes, the agents still exerted their limited time and resources investigating these complaints. This valuable law-enforcement time could have been expended on real and pressing threats."

 

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Tags: News, Washington D.C., FBI, Merrick Garland, Investigation, Jim Jordan

Original Author: Jeremiah Poff

Original Location: FBI opened multiple investigations into protesting parents, GOP lawmakers say

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