The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee is asking Attorney General Merrick Garland about his OctoberÂ testimonyÂ to that same committee, citing a document unearthed by a whistleblower that shows the FBI started using a specific tag to track threats related to schools.
â€œWe are now in receipt of a protected disclosure from a [Justice] Department whistleblower showing that the FBIâ€™s counterterrorism division is compiling and categorizing threat assessments related to parents, including a document directing FBI personnel to use a specific â€˜threat tagâ€™ to track potential investigations,â€ writes Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in a Nov. 16 letter to Garland.
â€œThis disclosure provides specific evidence that federal law enforcement operationalized counterterrorism tools at the behest of a left-wing special-interest group against concerned parents,â€ Jordan adds, referring to theÂ National School Boards Association.
In a Sept. 29Â letterÂ toÂ President Joe Biden, the association, which has nowÂ apologizedÂ for the language in the letter, wrote, â€œAmericaâ€™s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,â€ and requested â€œfederal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.â€
On Oct. 4, Garland issued a memo directing the FBI to pursue â€œstrategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,â€ citing â€œa disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nationâ€™s public schools.â€
Jordanâ€™s letter cites an Oct. 20 email sent by Timothy R. Langan Jr. of the FBIâ€™s Counterterrorism Division and Calvin Shivers of the FBIâ€™s criminal division. The email says a tag called â€œEDUOFFICIALSâ€ will be created to track threats.
â€œThe purpose of the threat tag is to help scope this threat on a national level, and provide an opportunity for comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective engagement with law enforcement partners at all levels,â€ states the email, which says the tag should be applied to â€œinvestigations and assessments of threats specifically directed against school board administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.â€
â€œThe attorney generalâ€™s memorandum simply underscores the FBIâ€™s ongoing efforts to assist state, local, and federal partners to address threats of violence, regardless of the motivation,â€ stated the FBI National Press Office in an email to The Daily Signal. â€œThe FBI has never been in the business of investigating parents who speak out or policing speech at school board meetings, and we are not going to start now.â€
â€œA tag is merely a statistical tool to track information for review and reporting,â€ added the press office. â€œThe 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.â€
In his letter to Garland, Jordan also said the email â€œcalls into question the accuracy and completenessâ€ of Garlandâ€™s Oct. 21 testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, tweeted that the documents â€œcontradict what AG Garland told Congress under oath.â€
Other Republican members also reacted on Twitter:
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