New Attorney General Guidelines May Legitimize Racial and Ethnic Profiling
The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)... is deeply concerned by new FBI guidelines that could lower the threshold for federal law enforcement officers to conduct investigations of individuals on the mere suspicion of questionable activity or meeting the FBI’s assessment of what it considers to be a threat.
Last week, SALDEF, along with other civil rights groups, met with Justice Department officials and reviewed draft language of the revised Attorney General (AG) Guidelines governing the investigative powers of the FBI in matters of national security. The new guidelines, which are slated to be approved on October 1, 2008, represent a major shift in public policy.
These new guidelines would allow the FBI to recruit informants, conduct pretext interviews without identifying the agency the investigator works for, and allow for physical surveillance of persons, including U.S. citizens, in the United States without evidence of criminal activity. Additionally, they would replace existing guidelines for five types of guidelines: general criminal, national security, foreign intelligence, civil disorders and demonstrations.
Currently these intrusive investigative measures are already in place to investigate criminal conduct which is based on physical evidence. The new AG guidelines will lower the standard for utilizing intrusive investigative techniques by not requiring evidence of criminal conduct, but simply the mere accusation of impropriety. [SALDEF Press Release]
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