The Biden White House ‘Stove-Piped’ Parents

Institutional sleaze

Have you heard of “stove-piping ”?

It’s a laundering technique government officials use to justify taking action against certain targets. Federal operatives used it to sell the public on WMDs. They also used it to sell the public on the years-long Russian collusion dud.

More recently, the Biden administration appears to have used “stove-piping” to justify mobilizing the full weight of the federal law enforcement apparatus against parents who oppose school masking policies and the teaching of critical race theory.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Oct. 4 the federal government would use its considerable powers and resources to investigate and possibly prosecute parents and community activists who have gone toe-to-toe recently with school board officials over mask mandates and hypersexual and racialist curricula.

His announcement came just days after the National School Boards Association petitioned the Biden administration to deploy the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate incidents involving association members and irate parents.

In a letter to the president, the association argued anti-mask and anti-critical race theory protests at school board meetings are a form of “domestic terrorism,” suggesting further the White House may want to consider using the USA PATRIOT Act against select parents and community activists.

The letter continued, listing the most egregious examples of the “threats and acts of violence” suffered by its members, including a man labeling a school board as “Marxist” and another man filming himself while calling school officials. Never mind neither of those actions are remotely close to “threats … of violence.”

On Oct. 4, Garland announced the federal government would intervene on behalf of the board association.

“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution,” the attorney general said, “that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views. Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.”

He added, “The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.”

Later, during a congressional hearing last week, Garland confirmed the National School Boards Association’s Sept. 29 letter was the impetus for creating the federal task force to investigate and possibly prosecute parents.

This is where it gets really interesting: The White House reportedly coordinated with the school board group to draft the letter the attorney general himself cites as the justification for federal intervention.

Previously unreported emails reveal that the National School Board Association’s president and CEO sent the letter to Biden on Sept. 29 without approval from the organization’s board,” the Washington Free Beacon  reports. “The emails also show that the White House asked the association for examples of threats against school board members days before Attorney General Merrick Garland created a task force of officials from the FBI and the Justice Department to determine how to prosecute alleged crimes at school board meetings.”

The report adds, “Viola Garcia, the president of the association, and Chip Slaven, the CEO, disclosed in other emails to the board that they had been in consultation with the White House and the Department of Education regarding an alleged rise in cases of irate parents showing up to school board meetings … [NSBA President Viola Garcia] wrote in an email to the board on Oct. 2 that the association had been engaged with the White House and Education Department ‘for several weeks’ on the school board protests.”

In other words, the Biden administration appears to have “stove-piped” parents.

This sleazy, self-fulfilling technique usually follows a specific formula. First, federal authorities quietly coordinate with a third party, usually the press, to birth disturbing and shocking news reports. Then, after the public has had time to marinate in the supposed implications of news reports federal agents quietly co-producers, Washington makes its move. Citing the news cycles it midwifed into existence as independent confirmation, the federal government takes action against whatever person or organization it has targeted at the moment.

The White House reportedly coordinated with the National School Board Association to draft a letter calling for federal action. The Department of Justice then launched a task force, citing the letter the White House allegedly had a hand in writing as justification for said federal action. This is classic “stove-piping.”

During a congressional hearing last week, Garland was asked whether the Department of Justice would ever use the PATRIOT Act against parents. The attorney general gave a weaselly, noncommittal answer, saying he “can’t imagine” the administration would ever do such a thing.

We have exactly zero reason to believe this.

First, his response leaves open the possibility federal prosecutors will do exactly what some fear they will. Secondly, the fact that the federal government appears to have used the same laundering technique against parents that it used to justify the re-invasion of Iraq, we really have no reason to believe the people in charge won’t level Bush-era anti-terrorism legislation against concerned parents.

T. Becket AdamsT. Becket Adams
Senior commentary Washington Examiner. Former “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” contributor. Bylines in RealClearPolitics, Business Insider, And another thing Subscribe

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal

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