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Tag: Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide

Chief FBI Spokesman Challenges NY Times Editorial on FBI Policy

Michael Kortan is assistant director for public affairs for the FBI in Washington. His letter to the editor is in response to a June 19 Editorial in the New York Times.

Michael Kortan (left) talking to ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh /fbi file photo

By Michael P. Kortan
New York Times Letter to Editor

WASHINGTON — The purpose of the attorney general guidelines and F.B.I. policy contained in the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide is to ensure that F.B.I. activities are conducted with respect for the constitutional rights and privacy interests of all Americans.

Although an effort is under way to revise the prior version of the guide, contrary to the editorial’s statements, the revision will not provide “agents significant new powers.”

The editorial notes that currently specialized surveillance squads may be used only once during an assessment but that the new guide will allow repeated use.

What the editorial does not mention is that surveillance, whether conducted by a specialized squad or a single agent, is tightly controlled during assessments. It can be authorized only for very limited periods of time, and any extension must be separately justified and approved.

To read more click here.

More Scandal: Justice Dept. Investigating Whether 100s of FBI Agents Cheated on Open Book Test

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — There appears to be more scandal in the air relating to allegations of FBI agents cheating on an open book test.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Justice Department is investigating whether hundreds of FBI agents cheated on a test on the bureau’s policies about conducting surveillance and probes without evidence of a crime being committed. Specifically, the test is on the Domestic Investigations and Operation Guide.

The news comes after ticklethewire.com first reported in November that three top officials at the Washington field office had allegedly been caught cheating on the test.

The top official, Joseph Persichini Jr., headed the field office, retired last Christmas before a final resolution could be reached in the internal probe. Two of his special agents in charge, Keith Bryars and Andrew Castor, were removed and sent to headquarters pending an appeal of the findings of an internal probe.

The allegations at the time were that the  three high-ranking officials may have received help on the  exam from an FBI lawyer, and may have some how worked together, a clear violation of agency rules.

Agents say the open-book test can take up to four hours, and is supposed to be taken on their own on a computer. They can look up answers, but are not allowed to work together or rely on answers provided by others. All agents take the test including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The Associated Press reported that in some cases agents worked together. The news agency also reported that the FBI Agents Association president Konrad Motyka wrote in his letter that in Columbia, S.C., agents printed the test in advance to use as a study guide.

“There are similar stories for practically every office, demonstrating the pervasive confusion and miscommunication that existed,” Motyka wrote.

FBI Director Mueller, testifying Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was aware of the investigation, but was not certain how many agents may have violated the bureau guidelines while taking the test.

The AP reported that Motyka urged the inspector general to focus on the FBI’s “systemic failure” to administer the test without rules.

He urged that agents not be punished “because of a failure to effectively communicate the rules,” he wrote.

OTHER STORIES  OF INTEREST

ACLU Wants FBI to Disclose Info It’s Gathering on Ethnic Groups in the Name of Terrorism

acluBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ACLU offices around the country plan to file Freedom of Information Requests with the FBI to find out what type of information the agency is gathering on ethnic groups to battle terrorism, the Boston Globe reported.

The request comes in the wake of the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide issued in 2008 that allows agents to collect info on peoples’ behavior, lifestyles, religious practices, cultural traditions and even eating habits, the Globe reported.

The Globe reported that the guidelines say agents can “identify locations of concentrated ethnic communities” if the information will “reasonably aid the analysis of potential threats and vulnerabilities.”

The guidelines say the information might also be helpful because some communities “may be potential victims of civil rights crimes,” the Globe reported.

“FBI surveillance and mapping based on people’s religion, cultural practices, race, or ethnic backgrounds raise profound civil liberties concerns,” Carol Rose, executive director of the Massachusetts ACLU said, according to the Globe.

The paper said the FBI was not immediately available for comment.

For full story click here.