National Security

EXCLUSIVE: New DOJ Policy Proposal Would Limit FBI Infiltration Of Terrorist Groups, Docs Show

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James Lynch Contributor
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The Justice Department’s proposed anti-discrimination policy would limit the ability of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and other federal law enforcement officers to infiltrate terrorist groups and deter potential terrorist threats, internal documents show.

The documents were provided to the Daily Caller by a source familiar with the proceedings who requested anonymity due to fear of professional retaliation. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: DOJ Proposal Would Ban FBI Agents From Using Community Crime Statistics In Law Enforcement, Docs Show)

The DOJ’s new anti-discrimination policy would expand restrictions against the use of protected characteristics in law enforcement activities, even when using protected characteristics to identify a suspect might otherwise be lawful, the documents show.

When the new guidelines are finalized, officers would be prohibited from taking into account a person’s “actual or perceived race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, disability status, or gender identity,” the documents show. These restrictions extend to the use of “facially neutral factors as a proxy” for protected characteristics.


DOJ Document 1 by James Lynch

Nationality is being added to the Justice Department’s list of protected characteristics, potentially reducing FBI agents’ ability to counter foreign terrorist organizations.

It was not included in the DOJ’s 2014 anti-discrimination guidelines and it is separate from national origin, which refers to ancestry and cultural characteristics rather than a person’s country of citizenship. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s Time To Clean House’: Former Senior FBI Agents Blast Politicization Of The Bureau)

Exceptions to the DOJ’s anti-discrimination policy are provided for suspect-specific information that satisfies a detailed list of criteria. One of the criteria required for exceptions is a “connection to particular criminal activities or a particular violation of federal immigration law,” the documents show.

Using sources of a certain ethnicity to gain information about a terrorist group is not permitted and does not fall within the criteria necessary for an exception. An example laid out by the documents demonstrates that FBI agents and other federal law enforcement personnel will not be allowed to consider ethnicity for obtaining sources with information about foreign terrorist organizations.

“A foreign terrorist organization, which has never carried out an attack against the United States and is made up of members of a particular ethnicity, sets off a bomb in a foreign country,” the documents outline in an example.

“To gain intelligence on the evolving threat posed by the organization, and to gain insight into its intentions regarding the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests, the FBI may not consider ethnicity when developing human sources with information about the organization,” the documents say.


DOJ Document 3 by James Lynch on Scribd

Additionally, officers are not allowed to rely on general stereotypes even in situations where an agent has been tipped off to a bomb threat and must quickly gather further information to deter the attack. An agent would only be allowed to pursue suspects with protected characteristics if they have specific information on the suspect’s appearance, the documents show.

“An FBI Agent receives a specific, credible, and reliable tip that an individual intends to detonate a homemade bomb in a train station during rush hour, but the tip does not provide any more information. The officer harbors stereotypical views about religion and therefore decides that investigators should focus on individuals of a particular faith. Doing so would be impermissible because it relies on general stereotypes, not specific facts,” the documents explain.


DOJ Document 2 by James Lynch

Under the Justice Department’s 2014 anti-discrimination policy, FBI Agents were told not to use protected characteristics for “routine or spontaneous” activities, with more leeway given for other law enforcement endeavors. The new DOJ guidelines will apply to investigative efforts such as data collecting and watch listing in addition to routine procedures.

The Daily Caller reached out to the FBI and DOJ for comment. The FBI deferred to the DOJ, which did not respond.