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Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, called the FBI’s alleged move to target parents who protested schools’ COVID policies “scary stuff” on Sunday and said it looks like Attorney General Merrick Garland had been misleading on the topic.
Jordan and fellow Republican Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., said last week that they have evidence that the FBI targeted parents who spoke out against schools’ policies despite assurances from Garland that it never happened.
In a letter addressed to the Garland, Jordan and Johnson said they have evidence that the FBI labeled dozens of investigations into parents with a threat tag created by the bureau’s Counterterrorism Division to assess and track investigations related to school boards. The evidence comes from “brave whistleblowers” within the Department of Justice, they said in the letter.
During an exclusive interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Jordan explained why it looks to him like Garland was misleading, arguing that “the very apparatus they put in motion with his memo that sets up the line for reporting, then the email that went out from FBI agents to agents all across the country, that process was used to go after moms and dads.”
He told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday that there were “more than two dozen cases.”
Jordan argued that Garland “said he wouldn’t use the counterterrorism measures of the government to go after parents, but that looks exactly like what they did.”
In testimony before Congress in October 2021, Garland told lawmakers that his Department of Justice had not deployed antiterrorism tools against parents protesting the actions of school boards. “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,” he said at the time.
The National School Boards Association (NBSA) sent a letter to the Biden administration in September calling on the Biden administration to use the Patriot Act against parents who are accused not just of being violent towards, but who were otherwise intimidating to school board officials. Five days later, the DOJ issued a memo directing the FBI to investigate threats to school boards.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan called the FBI’s alleged move to target parents who protested schools’ COVID policies “scary stuff” and said it looks like Attorney General Merrick Garland had been misleading. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Pool)
The memo highlighted the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center, which Jordan and Johnson likened to a “snitch line” for tips about parents at school board meetings.
An internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions instructed agents to apply the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” to all investigations and assessments of threats directed specifically at education officials.
Jordan and Johnson, citing a whistleblower, said the FBI opened investigations with the EDUOFFICIALS threat in every region of the country and relating to all types of educational settings.
The lawmakers cited several examples where someone reported a parent, or a state elected official using the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center.
In one investigation, FBI officials interviewed a mom for allegedly telling a school board member “we are coming for you.” The person reported the mom because she belonged to a “right wing mom’s group” called “Moms for Liberty,” and because she is a gun owner. FBI officials eventually determined this mother was not a threat.
Jordan pointed to that example on Sunday, noting that the mother was allowed to own a firearm under the Constitution.
“And the person who reported her on the snitch line said those were the reasons that she reported this person and the FBI investigated,” Jordan said. “So this is scary stuff.”
The Republican representative also pointed to “the speed and intensity” with which the FBI and Justice Department allegedly tried to “chill speech.”
“The School Board Association sends a letter on September 29 of last fall. Five days later, the attorney general does a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, every single one around the country, saying, ‘Set up this snitch line.’ And then 16 days after that, the FBI sends out the email saying, ‘Establish this designation, this threat tag label,’” Jordan told Bartiromo. “That all happens in 22 days.”
“The intensity they went after parents to chill speech, I have never seen that. I don’t know if anyone’s ever seen the federal government move that quickly on anything. But boy, when it comes to chilling speech and going after moms and dads, they operated at record speed,” he argued.
Fox News reached out to the Department of Justice and the FBI for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.