New whistleblower documents suggest Attorney General Merrick Garland lied to lawmakers last month when he denied that the Department of Justice was being weaponized to target concerned parents at school board meetings.
Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in late October, Garland said the agency’s interest in parents was provoked by a letter from the National School Boards Association asking for federal law enforcement to use “domestic terrorism” laws to go after those who are concerned about what is taught in classrooms.
“The National School Board Association, which represents thousands of school boards and school board members, says that there are these kinds of threats,” Garland said, explaining the DOJ’s investigation of parents while denying that divisions dedicated to counterterrorism were being deployed.
Garland told lawmakers he could not “imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor … a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorists.”
“I do not think that parents getting angry at school boards for whatever reason constitute domestic terrorism,” Garland said. “It’s not even a close question.”
Biden AG Merrick Garland concedes that he started targeting parents for "possible domestic terrorism" because the NSBA sent a letter. pic.twitter.com/ZDvhZ6vDzO
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 21, 2021
Records from an anonymous whistleblower released by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Tuesday, however, reveal that the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division is engaged in categorizing threat assessments relating to parents with a “threat tag.”
An internal email attached to a letter from Jordan to the attorney general references an Oct. 4 memorandum from Garland for the FBI to address “investigations and assessments of threats specifically directed against school board administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” with the tag.
“This disclosure provides specific evidence that federal law enforcement operationalized counterterrorism tools at the behest of a left-wing special interest group against concerned parents,” Jordan wrote. “We know from public reporting that the National School Boards Association coordinated with the White House prior to sending a letter dated September 29 to President Biden labeling parents as domestic terrorists and urging the Justice Department to use federal tools — including the Patriot Act — to target parents.”
The NSBA later apologized with “regret” for the letter days after Garland’s testimony.
“To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue,” the NSBA wrote. “However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”