Photo: Wikimedia Commons
When rewriting their soon to be released operations manual, the F.B.I. went ahead and drafted in a whole slew of expanded powers to let them operate more freely.According to the New York Times (via The Atlantic Wire) the new relaxed rules break down like this:
Assessments: Begun in 2008, the practice of investigating a person or organisation without any evidence against them originally needed documentation. Under the new rules agents can begin investigations and search databases without creating a record.
Lie-detector tests: Lie-detector and searching people refuse previously required evidence suspecting someone of breaking the law. Under the new rules agents will be able to use this tools when selecting someone to use as an informant. Useful information when they’re trying to convince someone to testify for the state.
Surveillance: Currently agents may only spy on suspects at one point during an investigation. Under the new rules agents may repeatedly setup surveillance as the investigation demands.
Undisclosed participation: Used when infiltrating a suspected organisation, current rules have not been made public. Under the new rules an agent may attend group functions up to five times before adhering to law-enforcement guidelines. No rules will apply if the agent intends to “join” the group.
Religious services: The decision to send an informant to a religious service will now be in the hands of the supervisor of a field office.
Sensitive investigations: Greater oversight will be imposed upon all investigations that involve scholars, members of the media, and public officials.
New media clarifications: If a media witness or victim requires extra protection, it will be granted if the individual is a prominent blogger, but not someone with a low-profile, and only to U.S. scholars.
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