WASHINGTON—The Federal Bureau of Investigation has set up a process to track threats against school-board members and teachers, moving to implement a Justice Department directive that some law-enforcement officials and Republican lawmakers say could improperly target parents protesting local education policies.
The heads of the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions instructed agents in an Oct. 20 memo to flag all assessments and investigations into potentially criminal threats, harassment and intimidation of educators with a “threat tag,” which the officials said would allow them to evaluate the scope of the problem.
The internal email asks FBI agents to consider the motivation behind any criminal activity and whether it potentially violates federal law. Agents should tag such threats “EDUOFFICIALS” to better track them, according to the memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“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,” says the email signed by Timothy Langan, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism, and Calvin Shivers, the assistant director of the bureau’s criminal division, who retired this month.