If new rule changes go through, the FBI will be allowed to open national security investigations without evidence of wrongdoing. Instead, the agency could pursue cases based on profiles of Americans it deems likelier to commit crimes such as terrorism. The policy would be in keeping with the Bush administration’s dragnet, fact-phobic approach to terrorism; the president himself has been critical of profiling.


AP via The Los Angeles Times:

Although President Bush has disavowed targeting suspects based on race or ethnicity, the new rules would allow the FBI to consider those factors among a number of traits that could trigger a national security investigation.

Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons — such as evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated — to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.

Factors that could make someone the subject of an investigation include travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training and the person’s race or ethnicity.

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