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Bush-Era Rule Grants FBI Unprecedented Investigative Powers

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Veterans groups and conservatives roared last week when news broke that the FBI was targeting veterans in a broad probe of extremist groups. But little noise was made in December, when the Bush administration quietly granted the FBI wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

The Attorney General Guidelines, proposed last summer and adopted by Attorney General Michael Mukasey, appear to be particularly problematic. Although in the past these guidelines required that the FBI have at least some factual basis for believing that the target of an investigation was engaged in criminal activity, in December 2008, Mukasey instituted new guidelines that authorized the FBI to conduct "assessments" of suspects without requiring any factual basis for suspicion.

TVNL Comment: Constitution? What's that?


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