Today, Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland revealing new whistleblower information that shows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has labeled at least dozens of investigations into parents with a threat tag created by the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division to assess and track investigations related to school boards.
In one such instance, for example, the FBI investigated whether a mom was a threat to her local school board because she belonged to a “right wing mom’s group” known as “Moms for Liberty” and because she “is a gun owner.” The allegation came into the FBI via the hotline publicized last fall by Attorney General Garland. These investigations into concerned parents are the direct result of, and would not have occurred but for, Attorney General Garland’s directive to federal law enforcement to target these categories of people.
Excerpts from the letter:
“We have learned from brave whistleblowers that the FBI has opened investigations with the EDUOFFICIALS threat tag in almost every region of the country and relating to all types of educational settings. 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. For example:
In one investigation begun following your directive, the FBI’s REDACTED Field Office interviewed a mom for allegedly telling a local school board ‘we are coming for you.’ The complaint, which came into the FBI through the National Threat Operations Center snitch-line, 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.’ When an FBI agent interviewed the mom, she told the agent that she was upset about the school board’s mask mandates and that her statement was a warning that her organization would seek to replace the school board with new members through the electoral process.
The FBI’s REDACTED Field Office opened an investigation, subsequent to your directive, into a dad opposed to mask mandates. The complaint came in through the National Threat Operations Center snitch-line and alleged that the dad ‘fit the profile of an insurrectionist’ because he ‘rails against the government,’ ‘believes all conspiracy theories,’ and ‘has a lot of guns and threatens to use them.’ When an FBI agent interviewed the complainant, the complainant admitted they had ‘no specific information or observations of . . . any crimes or threats,”’ but they contacted the FBI after learning the Justice Department had a website “to submit tips to the FBI in regards to any concerning behavior directed toward school boards.”
In another case initiated after your directive, the FBI’s Field Office opened an investigation into Republican state elected officials over allegations from a state Democratic party official that the Republicans ‘incited violence’ by expressing public displeasure with school districts’ vaccine mandates. This complaint also came into the FBI through the National Threat Operations Center snitch-line.”
“These investigations into concerned parents were the direct result of your October 4 directive to the FBI. Each of the cases was initiated following your directive. Each of the complaints came into the FBI through the same snitch-line—the National Threat Operations Center—highlighted in the press release accompanying your October 4 memorandum. One complainant even told an FBI agent that they reported the tip to the FBI because of the snitch-line, despite having ‘no specific information’ about any actual threat. These facts lead us to conclude that these investigations into concerned parents, and likely many more like them, would not have occurred but for your directive.”
Read the full letter here.