The U.S. Justice Department is expected to issue a broad new policy in the coming weeks banning religious and other forms of profiling by federal law enforcement officers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The long-awaited policy will not include an exemption for national security investigations. National security officials and others in the administration concerned about terrorism lobbied hard for such an exemption. The new policy will cover ethnicity and sexual orientation as well as religion. Advocates of the new policy said they were surprised because the debate over the national security exemption had blocked movement for months.
Attorney General Eric Holder had been on the verge of announcing the new policy several months ago, but it was put on hold by the White House days before the intended announcement. The White House insisted the policy be reviewed for its national security implications by the Department of Homeland Security. The new policy is expected to prohibit federal agents from conducting undercover surveillance of a mosque, for example, without some information that criminal activity is underway. Under the current rules, approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, law enforcement agencies were given broad latitude to monitor specific religious groups.