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Can FBI Now Investigate Based on a Hunch?


Looser rules for database searches, trash rummaging, and surveillance teams.

The NY Times today is reporting on a slew of enhancements to the FBI's operating guidelines that essentially lower the threshold for early stage investigation tools. The FBI will be able to expand its usage of certain techniques and procedures, including polygraph exams, database searches, and the deployment of surveillance teams. The Atlantic gives a good overview of the new operating procedures.

The FBI is claiming, as in this Fox News story, that the changes are minor alterations based on feedback from agents in the field.  With the specter of lone wolf terrorism and domestic radicalization as a constant backdrop, many Americans remain likely to defer to the experts on security matters.

Already, there is strong unease among privacy advocates on the possibilities for abuse and overreach resulting from the changes. In this clip below, Catherine Herridge lays out some of the concerns:

At some point, Americans will realize that trading privacy for marginally better security is not a good deal. While the changes to the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide are minor, they could prove problematic in a climate of continued government expansion in the name of security.

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