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New FBI Operations Manual Increases Surveillance 189

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
betterunixthanunix writes "The New York Times is reporting that the new FBI operations manual suggests a broad increase in surveillance. Denoted the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the manual officially lowers the bar of acceptability when it comes to engaging in surveillance activities, including allowing agents to perform such surveillance on people who are not suspected terrorists without opening an inquiry or officially recording their actions. The new manual also relaxes rules on administering lie detector tests, searching through a person's trash, and the use of teams to follow targeted individuals. It should be noted that these guidelines still fall within the general limits put in place by the attorney general."
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New FBI Operations Manual Increases Surveillance

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  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by MagicM (85041) on Monday June 13, 2011 @11:40AM (#36426030)

    0 comments, because they're watching

  • They are running out of things to do, ways to spend/waste tax payer dollars...
    • by blair1q (305137)

      You have it backwards. By limiting themselves unnecessarily and not investigating things fully they were wasting taxpayer dollars that were budgeted to do investigations fully.

  • Ugh, polygraphs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@ubermMONET00.net minus painter> on Monday June 13, 2011 @11:44AM (#36426080) Homepage Journal

    Why is the federal government so in love with polygraph machines given the scientific community's near-complete dismissal of polygraphs as valid [wikipedia.org]?

    (The cynical side of me says it's because they give superiors and judges a reason to pass their opinion as judgement on someone without any real evidence...)

    • Re:Ugh, polygraphs (Score:4, Interesting)

      by blair1q (305137) on Monday June 13, 2011 @11:55AM (#36426188) Journal

      It's because perps, except the true psychopaths, are scared shitless of them. Using them doesn't produce actionable evidence, but it weeds out the guilty who know they're guilty and don't feel they can beat a polygraph. Saves a lot of rubber-hose time that way.

      • Re:Ugh, polygraphs (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:15PM (#36427046)

        Not only perps. I'm scared shitless of it too, and I (probably) didn't even do it. I'm scared because I know that this thing is pretty much doing something akin to crystal ball reading and it could easily find me "guilty", no matter whether I am or not.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          So don't submit to it. Say you know they're innaccurate and inadmissable. Or better, have your lawyer say it. Make them prove your guilt themselves.

      • by DaveGod (703167)

        It's because perps, except the true psychopaths, are scared shitless of them. Using them doesn't produce actionable evidence, but it weeds out the guilty who know they're guilty and don't feel they can beat a polygraph. Saves a lot of rubber-hose time that way.

        relevant [youtube.com]

    • Re:Ugh, polygraphs (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday June 13, 2011 @11:55AM (#36426198) Journal

      They love it because of the placebo effect. If the perp thinks that the voodoo magic polygraph machine can actually tell if they're lying, it has some effect on investigations I suppose.

    • Re:Ugh, polygraphs (Score:4, Informative)

      by rubycodez (864176) on Monday June 13, 2011 @11:56AM (#36426220)
      information extracted by torture is well known to be unreliable, while very effective ways of getting information and cooperation have been perfected for decades....but our government still went with the torture. Says a lot about the kind of contemptible thug scum we have running the place, doesn't it?
      • Says a lot about the kind of contemptible thug scum we have running the place, doesn't it?

        Says even more about the citizens who elect them, or though inaction, allow them to be elected.

        • by TheSpoom (715771)

          I'm a permanent resident of the US and a Canadian citizen, and thus can't vote in elections in either country (since you have to be both a citizen and maintaining a physical residence within their borders to vote in either country's elections). I'll absolutely resume my civic duty as soon as I can become a US citizen, which is in a little less than two years.

        • Damn straight, they could have voted for Kodos.

    • by snkline (542610)
      Polygraphs are not generally used as 'lie detectors' but as interrogation tools. They are the flourish made by the magician with his left hand while he palms the coin with his right. Their purpose is to be a prop used to throw the person being interrogated off balance.
    • by harl (84412)

      Except that they're not admissible in court.

      • However, someone who does not think they can beat a polygraph may opt to confess to their crimes, thinking that it is better than lying and getting caught. Of course, this also means that better educated people will be less likely to go to prison, but that would be true without the polygraph: educated people will not say anything until they have spoken with a lawyer.
        • by harl (84412)

          All of this is based on a flawed premise. The situation you describe should never exist. If you are guilty talking to the police can never help.

          Once the police ask to talk to you both you and the police become impotent. You're in lawyer land at that point. Shut the fuck up and let them do the talking.

          • "If you are guilty talking to the police can never help."

            That's only half the story. If you are innocent, talking to the police can never help. [youtube.com]

          • All of this is based on a flawed premise. The situation you describe should never exist. If you are guilty talking to the police can never help.

            Says an educated person. Uneducated people often think that they can talk their way out of the police station, and routinely say things to the police that wind up hurting them at trial. Worse still, it is often the case that innocent people wind up hurting their legal case by trying to explain to the police that they are innocent.

            The nature of our legal system is slanted against uneducated people.

    • Another source of anti-polygraph info [antipolygraph.org]. 60 Minutes did an anecdotally interesting test [antipolygraph.org]. In addition, let's look at this from a (politically motivated?) prosecutor's perspective. We can presume the prosecutor is politically motivated, not truth or justice inclined, because of the insistence on using a scientifically unreliable instrument [fas.org]. Say the accused is:

      • Innocent: polygrapher says innocent, accused is released or plea bargains to lesser charge, convictions stay the same
      • Innocent: polygrapher says guilty, p
    • by heypete (60671)

      My friend applied for an FBI agent position. She excelled at all the various requirements (e.g. physical fitness test, background checks, etc.) only to fail the polygraph test twice. Why'd she fail? They repeatedly asked her if she had ever done drugs, such as marijuana. She never had done drugs, as several people she knew had gotten into various legal (and when using harder drugs, medical) trouble when using drugs, and so she had an emotional response when asked during the polygraph test.

      Even though she pa

  • So, nothing is really different about what they could do, within the law, they're just being told by their executives that they should do more, within the law.

    I see why this should be controversial. It appears that their policy has been not to do everything they could.

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      IMHO for a lot of these things at the legal extremes of what they could do, but didn't, the problem isn't that they weren't doing them, it's that they had the ability to do them in the first place.

      The law shouldn't have large sections that are only used when you piss off a federal agent / judge.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        The cops shouldn't have the ability to google your name to see if you've been bragging about your crimes?

        As for the "piss off a federal agent" thing, that will always be a part of the paradigm, as long as we rely on human beings to investigate and prosecute crimes. The key is to rely on independent human beings to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by federal agents.

        If you read TFA you realize that 90% of this story is about how much infrastructure we have in place to ensure that the things cops ca

        • The cops shouldn't have the ability to google your name to see if you've been bragging about your crimes?

          Absent any reasonable suspicion, no they shouldn't. Just having your name become known by the cops in the regular course of events isn't enough reason. Just like they shouldn't be able to "join" a church congregation looking for KKK members or anti-war groups with no history of violence.

          Sanctioning that sort of thing is COINTELPRO shit, just not quite so organized.

          • by blair1q (305137)

            COINTELPRO was legit, except where it incited crimes to occur in order to sway politics. The program wasn't the problem, the use of it was. Again, not a constitutional issue. Just one of management's understanding of whether cops should or shouldn't follow the law.

            • The program wasn't the problem, the use of it was.

              Baloney. It was precisely because of COINTELPRO coming to light that those kinds of surveillance without just cause were explicitly forbidden to agents of the FBI. It took 9/11 hysteria to bring them back.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      within the law

      It's never been proven that any of these searches (with the possible exception of dumpster diving) were legal without a warrant.

      The searches being described here are the sort that many constitutional lawyers think would fail Fourth Amendment scrutiny because they involve the searching of a person . However, they've never been tested under the Fourth Amendment, because nobody can prove they were targeted for the search and thus any suits about this have been thrown out due to lack of standing.

      Congress made s

  • As the GOVcorps continues to take money out of the economy/circulation they know this causes stress on the people and want to catch any uprising so to fill the 180 FEMA detention camps across the country. If you doubt the reduction of currency in circulation then where did all the trillions (10+) go that so many countries are doing the bailout dance? Wikileaks showed that Israel has intentionally kept the Gaza strip on the brink of economic collapse.... for their sense of control. the "Trillion dollar bet"
  • All others aside, why is trash such a big deal? I was under the impression that anyone can look through anyone's trash provided it was on the sidewalk/street.
  • just a codification of what they've been doing all along since 9/12/2001.

    The second casualty in (endless) war is the true Rule of Law.
  • by Thruen (753567) on Monday June 13, 2011 @12:20PM (#36426478)

    I like this line at the very end:

    But she rejected arguments that the F.B.I. should focus only on investigations that begin with a firm reason for suspecting wrongdoing.

    Is anyone else somewhat appalled that they don't need a "firm reason for suspecting wrongdoing" to waste time and money on an investigation? Add that to everything about this manual, and it kind of seems like the FBI is wasting enormous amounts of taxpayer money running around looking into random BS instead of focusing on serious issues. Even if we forget about the trampling of rights of innocent people here, and forget about them spending our money helping the MPAA/RIAA sue people, the mere fact that they are willing to investigate without a firm reason is bothersome from a "you-work-for-me-and-you're-wasting-time" perspective.

    • by zero0ne (1309517)

      I suggest we all buy grow lights and grow some tomatoes / vegetables.

      once they are growing well, we can all call the FBI on each other and drop some anonymous tips about locations.

      If we have enough people growing, we can then calculate the estimated time spent / money spent on worthless investigations. Include some audio / video clips.

      It like taking the digital honeypot idea, and using it against the cops to see where the inefficiencies / corruption is.

       

    • "Add that to everything about this manual, and it kind of seems like the FBI is wasting enormous amounts of taxpayer money running around looking into random BS instead of focusing on serious issues."

      You have stumbled upon the actual goal of every true bureaucrat: to get their people paid to run around doing random BS!

      That was not a joke! The more workers they can tie up doing useless stuff, the more workers they need to actually perform the job they are supposed to be doing. Which means a bigger department. Which means a bigger budget, and more personal power.

      All bureaucracies desire to expand themselves. When checks on government become weak, this becomes the primary goal of the leader(s) of tha

    • Along that line, I can give you a specific tip, based on personal experience:

      Never trust the EPA with stewardship of anything in your environment. They don't give a rat's ass about your health or your environment. All they want to do is expand their power to regulate what you can do in it.
  • by arisvega (1414195)
    Paywall? Seriously?
  • there is no cause for alarm, your elected government
    is operating at normal and safe levels to protect you
    against threats it has identified to the good of its members, and you
    .
    this legislation is no cause for alarm, and should be
    regarded as normal and regular. Please augment any
    feelings of dissatisfaction, fear, or confusion with your
    regularly scheduled, preferred docu-drama-comedy sitcom lineups as
    provided by your television. Those wishing to consume may do so at
    or above their levels of discr
  • by swb (14022) on Monday June 13, 2011 @12:42PM (#36426716)

    When I read this story in the local paper (probably a NYT or AP version, likely shrunk) it made it sound like that many of these things they've already been doing but that they required "opening an official investigation" or something to that effect, which involved some oversight but a ton of bureaucracy and turning the wheels of process.

    The net effect seemed to be that they could continue to do some of this stuff, except it would require less organizational oversight and more personal discretion.

    THIS is the part I find shocking. I read a story recently about an IRS agent who makes a point of running plates on sports cars he sees on the streets and then checking to see if the people who own the car list enough income on their taxes to justify the ownership. If it seems fishy, he then does a criminal audit.

    Even though the people may be cheating on their taxes, this strikes me as kind of rogue behavior that I'd hope the FBI would be restrained from.

  • They are always watching you. No matter what you type, text, or tweet, they can and will read it and you will never even know.

    After facebook facial recognition technology comes to fruition, your behavior patterns will be analyzed and recorded, and you may be 're-programmed' to fit back in to society nicely. If you fail to comply with the surveillance overlords, you must be prepared for the inevitable consequences.
    The 'land of the free and the home of the brave' thanks you in advance for your coopera
    • After facebook facial recognition technology comes to fruition, your behavior patterns will be analyzed and recorded, and you may be 're-programmed' to fit back in to society nicely. If you fail to comply with the surveillance overlords, you must be prepared for the inevitable consequences.

      Hohoho.. do you really think that facial recognition technology hasn't been there from the beginning?

      ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 1997) [sciencedaily.com] — Computer "eyes" are now up to such tasks as watching for fugitives in airline terminals and other busy locations. A sophisticated face-recognition system that placed first in recent Army competitive trials has been given the added ability to pick out faces in noisy or chaotic "street" environments.
      The new "Mugspot" software module developed at the University of Southe

  • "The new rules make clear, for example, that if the person with such a role is a victim or a witness rather than a target of an investigation, extra supervision is not necessary."
    Ah, wow. Another example of potential bad guys getting more rights than victims/witnesses. Making something up here- "Oh, he was a victim of wire fraud. Let's go investigate HIM!" The whole article is scary (and I probably just make some list by saying that). We know that are rights have been eroding due to things like the Pat

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