Representative Thomas Tiffany (R-WI-07) is demanding answers from United States Attorney General Merrick Garland following a leaked Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) memo that outlines how parents would be given “threat tags” for outbursts at school board meetings. Garland had come under fire for comments equating domestic terrorism with concerned parents at school board meetings.
One day after the FBI memo, AG Garland said he did not think parents getting angry at school boards constitutes domestic terrorism.
Does he not know what the FBI is doing? Or did he lie to us? He must answer these questions before our committee. pic.twitter.com/YdelfhKPuC
— Rep. Tom Tiffany (@RepTiffany) November 18, 2021
Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee made a whistleblower email public on Tuesday, where some of the top FBI officials instructed their agents to utilize a new threat tag, “EDUOFFICIALS” to “track the behavior” of alleged threats against school board members, staff, and teachers by parents.
Tiffany said he is “stunned” that the FBI is “issuing threat tags against parents who are just going to school board meetings.” He went on to talk about Garland’s October 21 testimony, where Tiffany asked Garland if he viewed parents attending school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.” Tiffany said, “He went on to say ‘I cannot imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used. I do not think that parents getting getting angry at school boards for whatever reason constitutes domestic terrorism. It’s not even a close question.”
Tiffany said that he is calling on Chairman Nadler to bring Attorney General Garland back to testify again to answer the question, “Does he not know what the FBI is doing?”
The New York Post reported, “The tag and tracking appears to fly in the face of testimony Garland gave where he insisted that parents were not being targeted as potential domestic terrorists by the FBI.”
Garland testified before the House Judiciary Committee on October 21, stating “True threats of violence are not protected by the First Amendment. Those are the things we are worried about here. Those are the only things we are worried about here. We are not investigating peaceful protests or parent involvement in school board meetings.
“There is no precedent for doing that and we would never do that. We are only concerned about violence and threats of violence against school administrators, teachers, staff.”
The memo, dated the day before Garland gave testimony, outlines the parameters for the FBI’s use of the new threat tag. It reads, “The purpose of the threat tag is to help 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.”
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Hayley Feland is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “DOJ Building” by Coolcaeser. CC BY-SA 3.0.