New FBI guidelines prompt civil liberty concerns

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Under Bush, the FBI has introduced new guidelinesSome people are not convinced that new guidelines introduced by the FBI in the final weeks of the Bush administration will adequately protect American’s civil liberties.

The standards set out what agents can and cannot do when starting an investigation, including rules about conducting surveillance, utilizing informants and including race or ethnicity as a factor for suspicion.

"These guidelines support the FBI’s mission, emphasizing early detection, prevention and interagency cooperation," an FBI press release stated. The new rules consolidate and replace five previous sets of guidelines for issues such as criminal investigations and foreign intelligence.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the new guidelines are overly broad and leave too much room for abuse by authorities.

"The FBI has shown time and time again that it is incapable of policing itself and there is good reason to believe that these guidelines will lead to more abuse," ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement.

And some lawmakers raised concerns about the FBI’s ability to access the private information of average citizens as part of an investigation.
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