The Federal Bureau of Investigation is rewriting its operations manual in a way which will make it easier for agents to search databases and go through the household trash of individuals who come to their attention, Charlie Savage of the New York Times reports.
Updates to the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide will allow agents to issue lie-detector tests not only on suspects but also on potential informants even before they’ve opened a “preliminary investigation,” which requires a factual basis for suspecting wrongdoing. Agents could potentially use the information gathered from an individual’s trash to pressure them to help in their investigations of others.
The new guidelines also address what kind of oversight agents must have from supervisors when dealing with suspects who are prominent bloggers. Agents will need extra supervision from superiors if they are approaching a suspect who is a prominent blogger because the case could be a “sensitive investigative matter.” The rule doesn’t apply if the individual has a low profile blog or if they are being approached as a victim or a witness.
FBI General Counsel Valerie E. Caproni told the newspaper that the bureau did not need permission to change its manual if the rules conform with the broader guidelines issued by the attorney general.
“Every one of these has been carefully looked at and considered against the backdrop of why do the employees need to be able to do it, what are the possible risks and what are the controls,” Caproni told the Times.