Mueller Likely to Remain as FBI Director

The Washington Post reports that three Bush Administration appointees are likely to remain in an Obama Administration, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, whose term expires in 2011.

Mueller has championed new guidelines, set to take effect Dec. 1, that give agents pursuing terrorism leads the power to conduct long-term surveillance of suspects, engage in pretext interviews in which agents conceal their identities and infiltrate groups that the FBI thinks may threaten national security. Obama has not spoken out on the guidelines, which have roiled civil-liberties advocates, but has indicated support for a new domestic intelligence czar who would provide more oversight of the FBI's intelligence operations.

Yesterday, I included rejecting the new FBI snooping guidelines approved in September and October by Bush, Mueller and Attorney General Mukasey among my suggestions for President-Elect Barack Obama. Grits for Breakfast has more.

How likely is that if Mueller is staying on as FBI Director? Center for Investigative Reporting has this analysis of the new guidelines: [More..]

Among the powers agents now have for an assessment:

  • Conduct surveillance without an otherwise required court order
  • Obtain grand jury subpoenas for personal telephone and e-mail accounts
  • Recruit informants for feeding information about a group or person to the bureau
  • Examine records maintained by federal, state and local government agencies, which are typically not accessible to the public, like police databases profiling past criminal suspects

In particular, the powers allow agents to "collect information relating to demonstration activities," according to the guidelines, for the purpose of protecting "public health and safety" before a major event, like the party conventions that occurred in St. Paul and Denver. The bureau can gather intelligence to determine where political demonstrators are lodging during the event, how they're traveling there, where demonstration activities are planned and how many people will attend, all without advanced proof that a national-security threat exists.

Agents can also access commercial databases containing large volumes of personal information on U.S. citizens, like those maintained by the private company ChoicePoint, which specializes in serving government agencies.

Here are the source documents:

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    This just makes me sad (none / 0) (#1)
    by sj on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 09:13:07 AM EST
    Although it's not really a surprise after the [totally unnecessary] FISA vote, is it?

    Great resource! (none / 0) (#2)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 01:33:19 PM EST
    Thanks, Jeralyn