WASHINGTON The Justice Department is expected to announce today new guidelines giving greater latitude to FBI agents to monitor Internet sites, libraries, and religious institutions without first having to offer evidence of potential criminal activity. Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute and a former Justice Department official, had the following remarks:
"As reported in the press, the new FBI surveillance guidelines present no serious problems. Especially under post-September 11 circumstances, law enforcement monitoring of public places is simply good, pro-active police work that violates the rights of no one. The same is true for topical research not directly related to a specific crime, which the new guidelines will permit.
"Depending on how the work is conducted, there is always the potential for abuse, of course. But unless the new latitude leads to significant abuse, that potential should not preclude officials from taking an active role not simply in prosecuting but in preventing crime as well."
Pilon can be reached at 202-789-5233. To arrange a broadcast interview with him, contact Jerry Brito, manager of media relations, at 202-218-4621 or email@example.com. Also available for comment are Timothy Lynch, director of Cato's Project on Criminal Justice, at 202-789-5239 and Robert A. Levy, senior fellow in constitutional studies at 202-789-5253.
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