Attorney General Merrick Garland has been accused of lying to Congress after House Republicans released documents provided by a whistleblower that allegedly show the FBI investigated parents critical of local school boards using “counterterrorism tools.”
The documents purportedly show the FBI created a tag for threats against teachers and school administrators.
The ‘threat tag’ was formulated as part of the bureau’s implementation of a controversial memo published by Garland that mobilized the FBI to address parents who ‘pose a threat’ at school board meetings.
That memo was developed after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) along with the White House and the Department of Justice (DOJ) coordinated to create a controversial letter comparing concerned parents to domestic terrorists.
House Republicans released an email showing the FBI advised agents to apply the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” to all investigations of threats directed specifically at education officials.
House Republicans accused Garland of having lied to Congress in his testimony regarding the memo that unleashed the FBI on concerned parents, stating that the whistleblower documents show the feds were using counterterrorism tools to investigate them.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Garland for the abuse of power.
“In an egregious abuse of power with the potential to unfairly track Americans’ activities, President Biden’s Department of Justice is using FBI criminal and counterterrorism resources to target parents,” he said in a statement.
The Attorney General, in his testimony in October, said: “I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”
Congressman Jim Jordan gave Garland the benefit of the doubt and said there were two scenarios at play here after the documents were provided by the whistleblower.
“He either lied to us or he doesn’t know,” Jordan said.
“Either one is bad for the country, bad for justice in America,” he continued. “As we speak the FBI is – not maybe, is – treating parents as a terrorist threat. And the attorney general came in front of the committee and said just the opposite.”
Senator Josh Hawley went a step further, saying Garland must be hauled in before Congress yet again to further explain his actions when it comes to the memo and alleged use of counterterrorism tools against parents.
“Garland said ‘oh, no, we would never treat them like domestic terrorists’ – of course that’s what left-wing groups wanted. Garland said ‘we are not going to do that’ – [but] now we know the counter-terrorism division has been tracking parents,” Hawley said.
It will be difficult for Garland to deny the threat tag allegation unless he goes the Barack Obama route and claims it was implemented by some rogue low-level office workers at the FBI.
“We ask that your offices apply the threat tag to investigations of threats specifically directed at school board administrators, board members, teachers and staff,” an email from the agency reads.
Garland has already been accused of lying about coordinating with the NSBA to intimidate parents who speak out at school board meetings.
Internal emails reported on by The Political Insider last week show the DOJ and White House helped draft a letter that compared concerned parents to domestic terrorists.
The NSBA would later backtrack on their letter after it was revealed they had coordinated the effort with the White House.
Documents had shown the NSBA discussed the issues with the White House “for weeks” before sending the letter, while one association official may have “altered the text of the letter to satisfy the curiosity of White House staff” according to Fox News.
McCarthy insisted Garland testify again as well.
“Attorney General Garland must return to Congress to address, under oath, in detail, the discrepancies regarding the directives he issued involving investigating America’s parents,” he said.
He said the whistleblower emails show “we have a President in the White House who is more interested in going after our own citizens, including concerned parents, than he is in going after actual threats.”
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