ACLU Calls for Independent Oversight of FBI
WASHINGTON - Today the American Civil Liberties Union expressed its skepticism following the Department of Justice’s announcement of two new internal oversight offices. The department is creating an Oversight Section for its National Security Division and a bureau-wide Office of Integrity and Compliance for the FBI. The Justice Department says the additions are aimed at enforcing adherence to agency guidelines and protecting civil liberties.
The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"Though it is commendable that the Department of Justice is pointing its investigative arm inward, its track record on internal regulation is shaky at best. The response to the damning Inspector General report on NSLs only resulted in unimpressive guidelines that failed to address the broad NSL power itself.
"Internal oversight is really a contradiction in terms when it comes to the FBI. The creation of these offices is tantamount to putting a band-aid on a broken arm - the problem is much larger than the solution. We have seen clearly in the past just how murky the water can get when we allow the FBI to police itself. Independent supervision is the only legitimate avenue for oversight. There must be both congressional and judicial oversight to guarantee civil liberties protections."