- The Washington Times
Thursday, May 12, 2022

At a school board meeting last fall, a woman approached the podium to complain to school board members about the longtime COVID-19 closure at her children’s elementary school.

School officials had shuttered the school for 40 consecutive days, frustrating and angering parents in the district.

She told the board, “We are coming for you,” which she later said was intended not as a threat, but to warn school board members that voters would kick them out in the next election. 

Then the FBI called her.

“The mom was terrified to be contacted by the FBI,” Tiffany Justice, founder of Moms for Liberty, a parental rights group that is representing the mom, told The Washington Times. 

“I think this is an effort to silence and vilify parents,” Ms. Justice said. 

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The woman’s identity has been concealed by Moms for Liberty for her safety. She was caught up in an FBI program that whistleblowers inside the agency say used counterterrorism resources to go after dozens of parents who crossed their school boards or teachers unions.

She participates in the group, and the tipster who called the FBI said her membership was a reason to consider her a threat in need of investigation.

The tipster cited the “we are coming for you” comment the woman made and said she owned guns, and belonged to a “right-wing mom’s group.”

The FBI, in the call with the woman asked a series of questions, including whether she had any mental health issues and whether there were firearms in her house.

The woman answered the agent’s questions and the FBI ended the call and has not called back.

“For a tip to come in to a tip line, and then for it to turn into this, it’s just crazy,” Ms. Justice said. 

The tip line was set up in October by the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Merrick Garland set up the line as part of a coordinated effort by federal law enforcement to monitor threats against school officials.

FBI whistleblowers have provided information to House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee showing that the tip line was snaring ordinary parents who simply complained to their school board or school officials about mask mandates, school closures or other matters, including curriculum that incorporated critical race theory.

The whistleblowers also revealed that the FBI is using counterterrorism resources to tag and investigate parents whose names were reported on the tip line. 

The FBI launched dozens of investigations into parents, using “threat tags” created by the bureau’s counterterrorism division, they disclosed.

Moms for Liberty alerted the House Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s contact with the woman late last year. 

The woman targeted by the FBI has been involved in her children’s school and engaged in school board meetings, especially during the earlier COVID-19 pandemic, when closures and mandates impacted achievement.

More than two dozen parents have been targeted by the tip line so far, Judiciary Committee Republicans reported.

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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