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Sunday, September 14, 2008

DOJ Fact Sheet: Protecting the Privacy and Civil Liberties of Americans

As the nation’s primary law enforcement agency, the Justice Department strives to be a model for ensuring that Americans' privacy and civil liberties are forcefully protected in all the Department's counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts. Below are some of the advances made since 9/11:

* Since 9/11, the Department has investigated more than 800 incidents involving violence, threats, vandalism or arson against Arab Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, South Asian Americans or other individuals perceived to be of Middle Eastern origin.
* Federal charges in these investigations have been brought against 42 defendants, with 35 convictions to date. The Department’s Civil Rights Division has coordinated with state and local prosecutors in more than 150 non-federal criminal cases.
* The Department developed and issued guidance to federal agencies in June 2003 expressly prohibiting racial profiling in federal law enforcement practices.
* The Department appointed its first Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer in February 2006. This officer actively participates in Department policymaking, ensuring regard for privacy and civil liberties at the earliest stages of Departmental proposals.
* The Privacy and Civil Liberties Office also participates in public outreach activities and works closely with the Terrorist Screening Center, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security to address watch list redress issues and other matters.
* The FBI created the Office of Integrity and Compliance in 2007 to ensure FBI compliance with laws, rules, and procedures, not only in national security activities, but in all FBI activities.
* The Department’s National Security Division in 2007 launched a comprehensive oversight initiative and created a new oversight office to ensure that FBI national security investigations comply with the nation’s laws, rules, and regulations, including privacy and civil liberties.
* The Department for the first time has begun conducting regular, comprehensive reviews of national security activities at FBI Headquarters and field offices, completing 15 such reviews in 2007. The Department plans to complete another 17 such reviews by the end of 2008.
* The Department implemented dramatic reforms in 2007 and 2008 to address problems in the FBI’s use of National Security Letters; increased the number of FISA accuracy and minimization reviews; and began conducting reviews of all referrals by the FBI to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board to detect patterns that may require changes in policy, training, or oversight. [Link]

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