The FBI created a “threat mark” over alleged threatening statements against school administrators and teachers, according to a memo issued by the Department of Justice, an internal email showed.
Mail, dated 20 Oct. was released Tuesday by Representatives of the Judiciary Committee Republicans, who said the letter was evidence that federal counterterrorism was deployed against “concerned parents” at school board meetings.
The email, which House Republicans said came from a whistleblower, showed the creation of the “EDUOFFICIALS” tag to track related threats.
“We ask that your offices use the threat label to investigate and assess threats specifically targeted at school board administrators, board members, teachers and staff,” the Department of Terrorism Investigation and Combat said in an email.
“The purpose of the threat label is to help identify this threat at the national level and to enable a comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective cooperation with law enforcement partners at all levels.”
Agents are asked to consider whether there is a federal connection, whether there are potential federal violations, and what the motivation is in the letter.
The joint message was sent by Carlton Peebles, Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division on behalf of the management of the Criminal Investigative and Counterterrorism divisions. It says the agency’s departments share a commitment to ensuring that “all individuals are able to carry out their work without threats of violence or fear for their safety.”
But the House Judiciary GOP said it provided “specific evidence that law enforcement operationalized anti-terrorism tools at the instigation of a left-leaning special interest group against concerned parents.”
A Oct. 4 note from Attorney General Merrick Garland outlined that federal law enforcement took the lead amid a “disturbing rise in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff.”
Critics linked the timing of the memo with a letter sent days earlier from the National School Board Association’s executive director to the White House, which equated the threats with “domestic terrorism.”
Republicans in the judiciary sent a letter to Garland on Twitter says they believe his testimony to the committee about his directive on October 21 was either incomplete and required new hearings – or that he “deliberately misled the committee about the nature and extent of the ministry’s use of federal anti-terrorism tools to target concerned parents on the school board meetings. “
The letter, signed by executive committee member Jim Jordan, invites Garland to change his testimony about threats at school board meetings.