FBI Looks to Expand Powers of Investigation

Agency wants to open cases without reason for suspicion
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2008 2:33 PM CDT
Attorney General Michael Mukasey sits at the witness table on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 9, 2008, as he prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Department of Justice is aiming to relax restrictions on the FBI so agents can investigate people without any clear reason for suspicion, congressional Dems tell the New York Times. The plan, which may be revealed in September, has attracted concern, including a letter from four Democratic senators warning that people will be scrutinized based merely on "race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities."

Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that would not be the case, and that the FBI would still need a "valid purpose" to conduct an investigation. Mukasey also agreed that he would not approve the new rules until after a congressional hearing next month.