New Emails Show Blowback at FBI After AG Garland’s Order to Treat Concerned Parents Like ‘Domestic Terrorists’


Attorney General Merrick Garland’s directive for the FBI to “use its authority” to treat concerned parents at school board meetings like domestic terrorist threats caught the bureau offguard, according to new revelations from America First Legal.

“On October 7, 2021, following the unprecedented memorandum – AFL requested the DOJ Office of Inspector General investigate ‘whether the Attorney General’s Memorandum was formulated and issued based on improper considerations’,” AFL noted.

“AFL highlighted serious irregularities, including evidence demonstrating that the memorandum’s stated justification was a fabricated pretext by the Biden White House to chill parents’ speech and political action,” the Twitter thread announcement added.

“Yesterday, AFL received a FOIA production from the FBI in response to a request for records made 18 months earlier,” AFL said Thursday afternoon. “This 2-page production paints a stunning picture of the internal conversations circulating at the DOJ on the day the unprecedented memo was issued.”

“On October 4, 2021, following the release of the memo, the Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division sent an email to his FBI colleagues, making sure they had all seen the memo and explaining that he was trying to ‘track down additional on this from today’,” the thread continued.

“This email suggests that AG Garland’s memorandum had blindsided the FBI Counterterrorism Division…”

“A senior FBI attorney responded nine minutes later, ‘I hope DOJ reconsiders’,” it noted. “Another employee responds on the chain and loops in Monty Wilkinson — the former Acting AG at the start of the Biden Admin, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Attorney General Eric Holder, and current Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (USAEO)… ”

“In the email, the employee states that FBI was ‘asking that the memo be revised,’ to which an employee from the USAEO replies, ‘it’s a little too late’,” the thread added. “The FBI production and the @Weaponization@JudiciaryGOP report confirm AFL’s allegations that AG Garland’s memorandum attacking parents was an abuse of the Department of Justice’s power for improper partisan political purposes.”

“We have known all along that the timeline at issue – a letter to the President followed by an Attorney General memorandum within days –indicated that the underlying premise for the memorandum was as fake as the Biden Administration’s commitment to the equal application of the law,” Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel, said in a press release. “The report issued by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the House Judiciary Committee this week confirms our assertions about the Attorney General’s memorandum. And now, the records we are revealing today further show that the memo blindsided the FBI. Stay tuned for more details as we continue our vital work.”

The attorney general in October 2021 released the memo: “Justice Department Addresses Violent Threats Against School Officials and Teachers.” It provided details on the DOJ’s operations.

“Citing an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools, today Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to meet in the next 30 days with federal, state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend,” the DOJ said. “These sessions will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response by law enforcement.”

The National School Boards Association demanded that the Biden administration investigate parents concerned about their schools’ radical agenda.

“Early demands from the National School Boards Association to the White House included calling for the deployment of the Army National Guard and the military police to monitor school board meetings, according to an early draft letter the organization’s independent review,” Fox News reported.

“In contrast to the final version, the draft of the NSBA letter said, “We ask that the Army National Guard and its Military Police be deployed to certain school districts and related events where students and school personnel have been subjected to acts and threats of violence.”

“The NSBA had originally sent a letter to President Biden in September 2021 that asked for parents protesting at school board meetings to be federally looked into, saying school officials were facing threats and violence at meetings,” the report added. “Most significantly the NSBA requested in its original letter that parents’ actions should be examined under the Patriot Act as ‘domestic terrorists’.”

The AFL claims that the Biden administration colluded with radical education groups like the NSBA to justify FBI targeting of concerned parents.

“Key Biden Administration stakeholders, including the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and others, have combined to oppress, threaten, and intimidate parents to chill and prevent them from exercising the rights or privileges secured by the Constitution.”

“Upon information and belief, at the express direction of or with the express consent of Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2 and other Biden Administration officials developed a plan to use a letter from an outside group (“not the usual suspects”) as pretext for federal action to chill, deter, and discourage parents from exercising their constitutional rights and privileges,” the letter said.

“Upon information and belief, in or about mid-September work began on development of what became the Attorney General’s Memorandum. Concerns expressed by department staff included (1) the absence of federal law enforcement nexus and authority, and (2) the constitutionally protected nature of parent protests. However, Jane Doe #2 made it clear this was a White House priority and a deliverable would be created,” the legal memo added.

The AFL legal memo points to the citation of legal authorities in the Patriot Act to skirt jurisdictional issues over the FBI deploying for the purposes of blanket surveillance and intimidation of parents who oppose the radical Critical Race Theory curriculum.

“On or about September 29, citing legal authorities including the Patriot Act, the ‘National School Boards Association’ made public a letter demanding federal action against parents citing authorities including the Patriot Act. The justification for federal action included, inter alia, parents were ‘posting watchlists against school boards and spreading misinformation (sic) that boards are adopting critical race theory curriculum and working to maintain online learning by haphazardly attributing it to COVID-19.’ It is not yet clear whether and to what extent drafts of this letter were shared with Biden Administration officials, including Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, and whether changes were suggested or made by them, prior to the ostensible public release date.”

The letter concludes with a call to investigate the Department of Justice’s collusion with outside groups.

“Accordingly, we request your Office investigate whether the Attorney General’s Memorandum was formulated and issued based on improper considerations. At this point, the dangers inherent in the undue politicization of the department’s criminal and civil law enforcement authorities, and in the corruption of the department’s standard order and process, should be evident,” Reed Rubinstein, the AFL’s Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight and Investigations, closed the letter.

The House Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released its report on Attorney General Merrick Garland’s order on Tuesday. The report found that Attorney  General Merrick Garland had “no legitimate basis” to direct the FBI to “use its authority” on parents who protested at school board meetings.

“The FBI later opened dozens of investigations into parents’ conduct at school board meetings, using the EDUOFFICIALS threat tag, in almost every region of the country and
relating to all types of educational settings,” the report stated.

The House report gave examples of parents targeted for FBI investigation and harassment.

In one investigation, an FBI 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 the FBI 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.

An FBI field office opened an investigation 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, an FBI field office opened an investigation into Republican state elected officials after a state Democrat party official accused them of making an “online terroristic threat by politicians against school board members.” This complaint also came into the FBI through the National Threat Operations Center snitch-line. It alleged that one Republican official “incited violence” against school board members by expressing displeasure with school districts’ vaccine mandates.

“These investigations into concerned parents were the direct result of Attorney General Garland’s October 4 directive,” the report found.


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