“Since the 9/11 attacks, the FBI and the Department of Justice more broadly have set priorities for and reorganized their activities to prevent future terrorist acts against the American people. In furtherance of those efforts, the Department has taken steps to provide the FBI with the authority and the flexibility it needs to protect the Nation from terrorist threats, including revising the Attorney General guidelines that govern the domestic operations of the FBI.
“Previously, several existing sets of guidelines applied to the FBI’s activities, with one set applying to ordinary criminal law enforcement activities; one set applying to national security efforts; another applying to foreign intelligence collection; and additional sets applying to other activities.
“To provide enhanced support and guidance for the FBI in its core missions, the Attorney General is issuing a new, consolidated set of guidelines for domestic FBI operations. These guidelines provide more uniform, clearer, and simpler rules for the FBI’s operations. The guidelines are designed to allow the FBI to become, among other things, a more flexible and adept collector of intelligence, as recommended by major national advisory bodies and studies, including the 9/11 Commission, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, and the Congressional Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities. Among other improvements, the guidelines move us forward in protecting national security through enhanced intelligence collection and analysis.
“The vast majority of the new rules will be available to the public, in contrast to the classification of substantial portions of the previous guidelines. As a result, the general public will have access in a single document to the basic body of operating rules for the FBI’s activities in the United States. Moreover, these guidelines reflect consultation with Congress as well as privacy and civil liberties groups. This consultation included three oversight hearings, numerous formal and informal briefings, and outreach to interested organizations.