FBI (partially) discloses domestic investigations and operations guidelines

Last December, the Electronic Frontier Foundation demanded of the FBI to disclose publicly their controversial Domestic Investigations and Operations Guidelines (DIOG). After waiting in vain for more than six months, they decided to bring the question to court.

In response to the court’s ruling, the FBI complied with the request and released a partially censored version of the DIOG, which usually put into effect many (if not all) guidelines from the Attorney General. In this case, it was the ones that were released by the former occupant of that position, Mr. Michael Mukasey.

According to the EFF, his guidelines allowed the FBI to investigate any American, even if he or she is not suspected of anything at all – and doing it by using invasive techniques that can include collecting information about the person from online sources and databases.

What troubles the EFF is that large portions of Sections 5 and 16 of the online publicized Guidelines are obfuscated. The Sections in question apply to the conduct of investigative “assessments” and to the “undisclosed participation” of agents and informants in the activities of civic and political groups and organizations, respectively.

Dissatisfied with this partial disclosure, the EFF plans to continue suing the FBI until they achieve their original goal – total disclosure. They are also of the opinion that any future changes or revisions of the DIOG should be debated by the public.

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