On September 29, a left-wing special interest group, the National School Boards Association (NSBA), sent a letter (now removed from their website) to the White House that labeled concerned parents as perpetrators of hate crimes and potential domestic terrorists and urged the Justice Department to use federal tools – including the Patriot Act – to target them.
“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”Excerpt of letter from NSBA, President Viola M. Garcia and CEO Chip Slaven requested federal law enforcement intervention.
These parents were individuals that the NSBA considered on the wrong side of the issue when it came to topics such as coronavirus policies, critical race theory, pornographic content in libraries, transgender policies, and other local matters.
On October 4, five days after the NSBA sent its letter, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo directing the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other Department of Justice (DOJ) components to address a purported “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence at school board meetings.”
The memo referenced the DOJ’s commitment to identifying, discouraging, and prosecuting such threats. It also called for the opening of “dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”
In an October 21 House Judiciary Committee (Committee) meeting, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) categorized the response as politically motivated and criticized the creation of “a snitch line on parents.”
“Mr. Chairman, Americans are afraid. For the first time during my years of public office… the good folks I get the privilege of representing in the fourth district of Ohio, folks all around the country, they tell me for the first time, they fear their government. And frankly I think it’s obvious why. Every single liberty we enjoy under the First Amendment has been assaulted over the past year.”Congressman Jordan speask out during October 21 House Judiciary Committee Meeting
However, AG Garland testified to the Committee that the DOJ and FBI were not using federal counterterrorism tools to target concerned parents at local school board meetings.
“The justice department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish about the education of their children… I can’t 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 terror[ists].”AG Garland replies to a question posed by Mr. Steven Chabot (OH-R)
Congressman Jordan pressed Garland on this issue pointing out that in a DOJ press release regarding the October 4 memo, the National Security Division was named as one part of a task force created to “address the rising criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.” The National Security Division is one component responsible for enforcing federal terrorism laws, including the Patriot Act, and its use suggests parents would indeed be labeled domestic terrorists.
AG Garland evaded Jordan’s question by responding that the National Security Division was not mentioned in his memo. He refused to comment on the DOJ’s congruent October 4 press release.
Garland also refused to answer questions from Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-R) related to a potential ethics violation under Title V of the Code of Federal Regulations which deals with rules on Impartiality of executive branch employees and officials.
Specifically, Mr. Jonson referenced Subpart E of the federal regulation saying, “an employee of the executive branch is discouraged from engaging in conduct that is likely to affect the financial interest of someone close to them.”
Johnson noted that the basis of parents’ debates revolve around school curriculum, the curriculum that Garland’s son-in-law, Xan Tanner, co-founder, board member, and president of Panorama Education – a data mining company that promotes the tenants of CRT – has a financial stake in.
He asked whether Garland sought guidance from an ethics counsel about the matter before issuing his October 4 letter. Garland refused to answer the question.
Enter the Whistleblower…
AG Garland’s testimony on the issue has now been called into question thanks to the information provided by a whistleblower. In a letter dated Tuesday, November 16, the Committee informed AG Garland that it had obtained documents that prove that the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division is actively compiling and categorizing threat assessments related to parents.
The document in question is an October 20 email that was sent on behalf of the FBI’s Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division and the Assistant Director for the Criminal Division. The email referenced the October 4 order given by AG Garland to the FBI and created a new and specific “threat tag” to track potential investigations of parents.
The tag was to be applied to all “investigations and assessments of threats specifically directed against school board administrators, board members, teachers, and staff” to “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.”
Since the issuance of the October 4 directive, the NSBA has apologized for its initial letter requesting federal involvement stating, “there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
Despite this fact, AG Garland has not rescinded the October 4 memo which weaponized the federal government against parents. He claimed that the NSBA letter was not the driving force behind his move, however, an October 11 NSBA memo time lining events suggests that not only is that the case but that the NSBA collaborated with the White House in its preparation.
While the fallout of this revelation remains to be seen, the Committee has now called into question the accuracy and completeness of AG Garland’s October 21 testimony. It has invited AG Garland to amend his statement, reiterated a request for outstanding documents, and ended with a warning note on the protected status of whistleblowers.
Post By CJ Fisher