FBI Director Robert Mueller, who testified before the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees this week, said new Attorney General guidelines for the FBI would radically overhaul the agency’s investigation procedures towards an intelligence-focused approach.
However, what the new framework Mueller described would actually do is allow agents to begin “assessments” and surveillance without first obtaining factual evidence. Additionally, the guidelines would permit agents to use race and ethnicity as a factor for triggering investigations.
Despite the concerns raised during the hearings and pressure from civil rights groups, Attorney General Michael Mukasey plans on signing the guidelines into law on Oct. 1.
These guidelines represent only some of a series of changes in law enforcement set in place the last year, increasing the power of federal, state and local authorities. Other new policies include the proposal to eliminate restrictions on local and state law enforcement intelligence gathering, the recruitment of over 15,000 new informants, and the creation of local-level “fusion centers” that gather and monitor masses of criminal and non-criminal information on individuals.