The FBI is employing counterterrorism resources using threat tags to allegedly target parents who protest school board meetings. The FBI has been asked “by the Biden administration to assess and track investigations related to school boards,” according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). In November, a President’s Management Agenda (PMA) insider from the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote an email blowing the whistle on how the Biden administration is requiring federal agents to come up with a plan to monitor harassment of or threats against school board members, administrators, teachers, and support staff, according to a Nov. 17, 2021 media blog on the Congressman’s website.

On May 11, 2022, Jordan wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland revealing evidence to suggest that the FBI has now “opened investigations with the EDUOFFICIALS threat tag in almost every region of the country and relating to all types of educational settings.”

Jordan also slammed Merrick Garland in a May 11 interview with Jesse Watters of Fox News, saying that Garland told him in an Oct. 21 House Judiciary Committee hearing that “he would not use counterterrorism resources to go after moms and dads,” but he has apparently been doing it anyway. A Dec. 6, 2021 letter from Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) referenced the same DOJ whistleblower and reinforced concerns from Republicans that the DOJ was targeting parents.

Both Jordan and Grassley referred to Garland’s Oct. 4 memorandum in response to a six-page letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA). The memo referenced a “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 nation’s public schools.” Garland’s memo also stated, “[w]hile spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views, potentially leaving the door open for the political targeting of parents by the FBI and other federal and state law enforcement agencies.”

Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) also penned a letter on Oct. 7, 2021, from the Committee on Education and Labor making specific demands for information from the DOJ about its plans to target parents.

Lisa McClain/Oct. 7, 2021 letter to DOJ

Garland stated in his February 2021 confirmation hearing that while he does not plan to “chill” speech, he “draws the line at the use of violence or threats of violence to disrupt democratic processes. 

The May 11 Letter

The May 11 letter refers to investigations that now appear to be underway. The letter highlights “startling” information that indicates “federal law enforcement is using counterterrorism resources to investigate protected First Amendment activity.” In some cases, the FBI conducted interviews with parents because of complaints through the “Threat Operations Center snitch-line.”

Jordan May 11, 2022, letter to Merrick Garland

Garland has repeatedly stated, “the Justice Department is not trying to chill the objections” of parents but is only concerned with “violence and threats of violence.” Jordan’s letter restates parents’ “undisputed right to direct the upbringing and education of their children, which includes voicing their strong opposition to controversial curricula at local schools.”  Jordan requests Garland rescind his Oct. 4 memo and “preserve all documents responsive” to four letters sent “to Departmental components” in November.

Given the recent formation of the Disinformation Governance Board by the DHS, Jordan’s concerns are understandable. AG Garland has yet to respond to any of the letters sent by members of Congress in the fall. Garland’s concerns are particularly ironic given this administration’s attitude about the protests in front of the homes of Supreme Court Justices because of leaked information on Justice Alito’s opinion on the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade. Press Secretary Psaki said the administration continues to “encourage” protests outside of judges’ homes, saying it is also the President’s position.