FBI National Security Guideline Rewrite Delayed After Dems Object


Little is known about the precise language in a Justice Department plan that would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion, says the New York Times. Four Democratic senators told Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey yesterday they were troubled by what they heard. The senators said the new guidelines would allow the FBI to open an investigation of an American, conduct surveillance, pry into private records, and take other investigative steps “without any basis for suspicion.” The plan “might permit an innocent American to be subjected to such intrusive surveillance based in part on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities,” said Democrats Russ Feingold (WI), Richard Durbin (IL), Edward Kennedy (MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).

Michael German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a former FBI agent, said, “This seems to be based on the idea that the government can take a bunch of data and create a profile that can be used to identify future bad guys, but that has not been demonstrated to be true anywhere else.” The Justice Department said that in light of congressional requests for more information, Attorney General Michael Mukasey would not sign the new guidelines before a Sept. 17 hearing.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/washington/21fbi.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

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