The FBI is using its counterterrorism to investigate any potential “threats” towards school officials, according to documents recently released by a whistleblower.
A group of House Judiciary Committee Republicans led by Jim Jordan (R-OH) released an email sent on behalf of the FBI’s counterterrorism and criminal divisions detailing how the FBI is using counterterrorism tools against potential threats to school officials.
“We share an obligation to ensure all individuals are able to do their jobs without threats of violence or fear for their safety. This can only be accomplished with effective coordination and engagement with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney offices,” the email says, which was obtained by a whistleblower.
“As a result, the Counterterrorism and Criminal Divisions created a threat tag, EDUOFFICIALS, to track instances of related threats. We ask that your offices apply the threat tag to investigations and assessments of threats specifically directed against school board administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” the email continues. “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.”
The email told agents to identify a “federal nexus” in each case and any “potential federal violations that can be investigated and charged.” The email also told agents to identify any “motive behind the criminal activity.”
“We appreciate your attention to this matter and welcome any engagement to identify trends, strategies, and best practices to accomplish discouraging, identifying, and prosecuting those who use violence, threats of violence, and other forms of intimidation and harassment pertaining to this threat,” the email concludes.
FROM THE WHISTLEBLOWER: pic.twitter.com/4IfJRPVKMk
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) November 16, 2021
In response to the whistleblower’s email, Rep. Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, writing that the whistleblower email “provides specific evidence” that the FBI employed counterterrorism tools “against concerned parents.”
The FBI responded to the leaked email in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, denying that it has targeted parents but confirming the legitimacy of the email.
“The FBI has never been in the business of investigating parents who speak out or policing speech at school board meetings, and we are not going to start now,” the agency said. “The creation of a threat tag in no way changes the long-standing requirements for opening an investigation, nor does it represent a shift in how the FBI prioritizes threats.”