ACLU Slams Plan to Place Parts of FBI Under Control of Intelligence Agencies, Warns of Further Mixing Law Enforcement With Intelligence Operations

June 29, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Following reports the president will push for the Department of Justice to create a National Security Service within the FBI that reports to the Director of National Intelligence, the American Civil Liberties Union said the shift would lead to an erosion of constitutional protections against law enforcement actions. The change would affect the Justice Department’s counterterrorism, espionage and intelligence units.

The following can be attributed to Timothy H. Edgar, ACLU Policy Counsel for National Security:

“Spies and cops have different roles and operate under different rules for a very important reason: to ensure that our law enforcement agencies stay within the Constitution. This proposal could erode the FBI’s law enforcement ethic and put parts of the FBI under the effective control of a spymaster who reports to the president – not the attorney general.”

“This proposal upsets the delicate compromise Congress adopted last year which recognized the importance of keeping the FBI under the control of a director who reports to the attorney general. The Patriot Act has already given these agents access to a wide range of tools that might be, in some cases, unconstitutional. The United States does not need a domestic intelligence agency – a fact that was made clear by the 9/11 Commission, when it said the FBI should maintain responsibility over domestic surveillance to better protect our rights.”

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