Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Broader FBI Powers Now Set in Stone

Via The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Wall Street's $700 billion bailout reasonably dominated the news cycle last week. But something else occurred on Friday just as Washington prepared to leave for the weekend, and the announcement has civil libertarians in an uproar.

The Justice Department finalized a new set of more lenient guidelines regulating what tactics FBI agents can use for criminal and national security investigations.

Elements of the proposed changes generated attention after Democratic lawmakers heard testimony about them in August and worried publicly in a letter to the Attorney General's Office that they could lead to abuse. The Justice Department also presented the changes to advocacy groups inviting the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and others to read but not copy them before they were released.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey and FBI Director Robert Mueller then declared in a joint statement Friday that they'd "consulted" with civil liberties groups and Congress prior to making the changes final implying that the effort was supported across the political spectrum.

More here.


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