A Republican congressman accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of lying to Congress last month based on an FBI whistleblower’s reveal of emails showing the bureau used counterterrorism methods to track alleged parent threats against school board members.
Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee released the whistleblower-provided email Tuesday in which top FBI officials directed agents to use an “EDUOFFICIALS” threat tag to track the behavior.
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.
“This brings that really to a point that Attorney General Garland basically perjured himself in front of Congress and should really face the consequences before this,” Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) told “Fox & Friends First” during an appearance with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) on Wednesday.
The Oct. 20 message, which was sent to the congress members by the whistleblower, was signed by FBI assistant director for counterterrorism Timothy Langan and FBI criminal division assistant director Calvin Shivers. “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,” 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,” the note said.
“The mama bears woke up and saw what was being done to their children, and that is not wrong for them to speak out,” Murphy told the hosts.
Murphy was referring to parents who have been outspoken at school board meetings against mask mandates and the teaching of critical race theory in public school classrooms.
The email from Langan and Shivers grew out of a directive issued by Garland on Oct. 4 ordering FBI agents to take the lead on local law enforcement responses to what the AG called “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
Garland’s memo was released just days after the National School Boards Association wrote to President Biden that the country’s “public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat” from parents.
The letter went on to suggest that verbal confrontations and other incidents at local school board meetings across the US constituted “domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
The NSBA later apologized for use of the term.
Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Oct. 21, the day after the email from Langan and Shivers was sent, Garland said that he could not “imagine any circumstance” where the FBI would label parents as “domestic terrorists.”
“I think it is vital that Attorney General Garland come back and answer more questions,” Foxx said Wednesday. “He did not say it didn’t happen. He said, ‘I cannot imagine it happening.’ So there are many, many ways not to answer a question and not tell the truth.”
Murphy championed parents’ rights to be involved in their children’s education and to speak up without fear at school board meetings.
“There are been some silver linings in the pandemic, and one of them is that what was being taught to their children was actually brought home right in their face on the folks’ computer screens, and they could see this,” Murphy said.
“They [parents] have a right to say what’s going on in their education,” he continued. “And I don’t think they’re going to relinquish that right.”