briefing on proposed changes to FBI Nat Sec Invest. Guidelines

* Consolidated Attorney General Guidelines – Background Briefing (9/13/08)

I don’t have a copy of the draft Consolidated AG Guidelines to circulate, but those who are interested in the topic might want to review the recent background briefing posted here:

This exchange highlights the effort to permit investigators acting under the rubric of intelligence rather than criminal investigation to employ three techniques at the “threat assessment” stage: recruiting human sources (or tasking existing sources); pretextual interviewing (i.e., interview by FBI agent either without disclosing affiliation or without disclosing the real subject of interest); and ordinary physical surveillance.

The briefing also discusses the nature of the “threat assessment” stage in intelligence investigations, emphasizing that the idea is to permit these and other basic procedures to be employed to gather intelligence for legitimate counterterrorism and counterintelligence purposes but without individualized predication.  Put another way, the briefing frames the change in terms of the ongoing effort to enable FBI agents to function as intelligence collectors, not just criminal investigators.

The briefing also has a useful discussion of internal accountability mechanisms, including audit teams and other compliance mechanisms adopted after the National Security Letter disputes of recent years.

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