On November 16, 2021, Fox News reported that an October 20 internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions — as part of the agency’s implementation of Garland’s October 4 memo citing an increase in harassment of education officials — instructed agents to apply the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” to all probes of threats allegedly directed at school board officials, teachers and staff. “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,” said the email. It also instructed FBI agents to try to determine: (a) what may have been the motivation behind the criminal activity being investigated, and (b) whether that activity violated any federal laws.

Reacting to news of the FBI threat tags, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted on November 16: “Merrick Garland testified that the FBI wasn’t targeting parents. We now know the FBI is ‘tagging’ parents they consider threatening. The Attorney General has some explaining to do.” In a similar vein, Republican Senator Josh Hawley tweeted: “If this is accurate, parents are getting the domestic-terrorist treatment after all.”