Sunday, September 14, 2008

FBI Seeks New Surveillance Guidelines

An AP newswire article, via USA Today, reports that:

The Bush administration unveiled proposed guidelines Friday that would give the FBI more tools to assess national security and foreign intelligence threats.

Agents would be permitted to use tactics only allowed in criminal cases: physical surveillance, recruitment of sources and "pretext interviews" — where the real purpose would not be revealed.

Justice Department and FBI senior officials briefed reporters on the draft guidelines, but would not be quoted by name because they were discussing proposals that are still likely to be changed.

Some Democratic senators and civil liberties groups have said the proposals would allow Americans to be targeted in part by their race, ethnicity or religion — and be spied on without any other basis for suspicion.

The officials acknowledged that those factors could play a role in national security and foreign intelligence cases. But they said these factors already can be considered under 2003 rules that are not changing.

According to the officials, the surveillance, recruitment and interview rules are too restrictive in allowing the FBI to become a post-Sept. 11 intelligence agency that can stop terrorists before they strike.

More here.


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