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ACLU: FBI guideline proposals open door ‘to all kinds of abuses’

In Americas, Big Brother on June 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm

By Terry Frieden

The FBI says it is merely “fine-tuning” some of its rules on conducting investigations, but the ACLU claims the changes amount to granting agents “broad new powers” to snoop.

The latest chapter in the ongoing struggle between national security and individual privacy rights is prompted by revisions to the FBI’s “Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide.”

The proposed internal changes grant the Bureau’s 14,000 agents the latitude to search existing government and commercial databases without first opening an investigation or assessment. Another change would relax restrictions on when agents may search people’s trash. Yet another change would remove a limit on the repeated use of surveillance squads to watch someone.

The FBI and ACLU spoke with CNN about the issues Monday.

“The FBI is claiming the authority to investigate people without actually opening an investigation or assessment, or even having a reason to suspect someone has done anything wrong. This opens the door to all kinds of abuses,” said ACLU policy analyst and former FBI agent Mike German.

FBI officials vigorously dispute…

Full article…

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