It has been suggested that directed forgetting (DF) in the item-method paradigm results from selective rehearsal of R items and passive decay of F items. However, recent evidence suggested that the passive decay explanation is insufficient. The current experiments examined two theories of DF that assume an active forgetting process: (1) attentional inhibition and (2) tagging and selective search (TSS). Across three experiments, the central tenets of these theories were evaluated. Experiment 1 included encoding manipulations in an attempt to distinguish between these competing theories, but the results were inconclusive. Experiments 2 and 3 examined the theories separately. The results from Experiment 2 supported a representation suppression account of attentional inhibition, while the evidence from Experiment 3 suggested that TSS was not a viable mechanism for DF. Overall, the results provide additional evidence that forgetting is due to an active process, and suggest this process may act to suppress the representations of F items.