The ACLU is formally requesting the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigate current abuses of the attorney general guidelines. During testimony last week, Director Mueller insinuated that the FBI interpreted its authorities under the current guidelines to allow the use of intrusive investigative techniques even without any factual “predication.” A plain reading of the guidelines would not support this interpretation. The OIG investigation should examine whether the FBI has used prohibited investigative techniques to infiltrate groups engaged in non-violent protest activities or political demonstrations without a factual predicate indicating a possible violation of federal law. The investigation should particularly examine the manner in which the FBI uses race, religion, national origin or First Amendment protected activities in determining whether to initiate, expand or continue an investigation.
“What’s the point of revising the guidelines if the FBI isn’t even following the current ones? Since that very well may be the case, we’re asking the Inspector General to investigate what exactly has been going on at the bureau,” continued Fredrickson. “The FBI already has far too much authority — and far too grave a history of abusing that authority — for its investigative powers to have anything but clear, bright and easily understood boundaries.”
To read the ACLU’s letter to DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine, click here.