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We Don't Need No Steekin Manual
October 29, 2009 5:42 AM   Subscribe

For your perusal: The New FBI Operations Manual. "Agents may begin such assessments against a target without a particular factual justification. The basis for such an inquiry “cannot be arbitrary or groundless speculation,” the manual says, but the standard is “difficult to define.”
posted by Xurando (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The basis for such an inquiry “cannot be arbitrary or groundless speculation,” the manual says, but the standard is “difficult to define.”

Call it a hunch.
I got a bad feeling about that guy.
My gut sez he's guilty.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:02 AM on October 29, 2009


Pages 254 to 266 are especially revealing.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:05 AM on October 29, 2009


The FBI is supposed to be the best law-enforcement organization in the world, and now they can't even define a standard of who they're supposed to be watching? What kind of bullshit is that? I don't care if it's difficult--just goddamn do it.
posted by box at 6:07 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence. But given the long history and expertise of the FBI, can this be adequately explained by incompetence?
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I don't like your face, punk!"
posted by spicynuts at 6:31 AM on October 29, 2009


"difficult to define" - "He ain't black. He sure ain't white. I dunno what the hell he is!"
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 6:44 AM on October 29, 2009


Actually, the standard under which one can be placed under surveillance has been pretty well defined by the courts for quite a long time. This is o more than a bullshit attempt to do an end-run around the constitution and the court system. I'd say "fuck that," except they've been succeeding in doing it for years now, sadly.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 6:54 AM on October 29, 2009


Edward Eugene Harper accused child molester and one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives, was apprehended in July in Wyoming. In 1994 Harper was indicted for conspiracy to commit sexual battery, fondling a child and sexual battery. He has been living on Wyoming since 1994, working odd jobs and herding sheep. Incidentally, he is also on PETA’s most wanted list for committing similar crimes.
posted by netbros at 7:18 AM on October 29, 2009


Why this is tagged as "Bush" is beyond me.
posted by Taft at 7:25 AM on October 29, 2009


Why this is tagged as "Bush" is beyond me.

Um... maybe because it's made explicit in the NYT article that these rules were developed under Bush? It's, like, the first sentence in the header for the document. Or is this one of those failure-to-click statements?
posted by hippybear at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed. Please do not derail brand new threads by pulling in arguments from elsewhere on the site.]
posted by cortex at 7:33 AM on October 29, 2009


Sadly nothing will come of this. Most Americans, even ones that normally should or do know better such as those on MeFi, have far too much unearned respect for petty authority. If they wear a uniform, have some members who have done genuinely good things or say the word "safety" enough times, they are gods.
posted by DU at 7:37 AM on October 29, 2009


Most people in the world don't live in free societies. Almost everyone historically hasn't lived in a free society. I think if you look around, it's pretty clear that it's not a natural state of affairs.
posted by delmoi at 8:11 AM on October 29, 2009


Just to belabor a point, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
posted by Aversion Therapy at 8:28 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most people in the world don't live in free societies. Almost everyone historically hasn't lived in a free society. I think if you look around, it's pretty clear that it's not a natural state of affairs.

If you think for a second or so, it's pretty clear that making arguments based on the assumption that there is a 'natural state of affairs' for human beings is an ignorant thing to do. The thing about humans is, any 'natural' programmed behavior can be overpowered by our ability to think through issues. The most obvious and overpowering 'natural' behavior in humans is the drive to think, to potentially decide to do something against instinct--go on a diet, allow someone to poke a needle filled with viruses into your arm, forsake sleep to read books before an exam--because rational thought has led to the conclusion that it will be beneficial down the road.

When this thinking is done by many humans, collectively, in a society, almost any conceivable social structure (well, not quite, but you get the point) can and has been created. Your argument is just one step removed from 'well apes have hierarchies of form X and we are apes so...' which is intellectually lazy and demonstrably untrue.

So geez, if enough people think to themselves, "I don't want the FBI to have essentially unchecked power of investigation," and then act on their thoughts, guess what--the FBI will no longer have that power.
posted by notswedish at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


But what if the herd effect overpowers that precious ability to think things through? What if protesting the FBI risks my job and livelihood? I'd love to agree that our ability to think things through can overcome anything, but it seems there's a stronger drive to be comfortable and safe under the power of a singular or collective authority.
posted by palidor at 9:23 AM on October 29, 2009


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