WASHINGTON - Sen. Russ Feingold was among four U.S.
senators to voice concern Wednesday about proposed guidelines for
FBI investigations that may infringe on the rights of innocent
In a letter to Attorney General Michael
Mukasey, the senators contend that the guidelines will allow the
FBI to use "intrusive investigative techniques ... without any
basis for suspicion" when conducting criminal, security and
The senators expressed concern that the
proposed guidelines would permit FBI officials to subject innocent
citizens to "intrusive surveillance" based on someone's race,
ethnicity, nationality or religion.
"As you know, attorney general guidelines
were first implemented in the wake of FBI abuses of the 1960s and
1970s and serve as one of the bulwarks against future abuses," the
The senators contend Mukasey told them they
would be given adequate time to review the proposed guidelines so
they could offer appropriate recommendations to the Department of
Justice regarding the issue. According to the letter, Mukasey plans
to finalize and sign the guidelines next week without any further
input from members of Congress.
The senators ask Mukasey to delay giving his
final approval to the guidelines until national security and civil
liberties experts, the public and members of Congress have had the
opportunity to fully analyze the proposed changes, ask questions
and offer suggestions to the Department of Justice.
In addition to Feingold, the letter was
signed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.;
and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. All four are members of the
Senate Judiciary Committee.