FBI Domestic Intelligence Operations:

An Uncertain Future

GGD-78-10: Published: Nov 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Nov 9, 1977.

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Under the Attorney General's domestic security guidelines which became effective on April 5, 1976, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) domestic intelligence operations have changed significantly in scope, level of effort, and investigative controls.

Despite the improvements in the direction and control of domestic intelligence, there are still few visible results. Only 10 of the 319 sample cases reviewed produced advance information of planned violent activities or information useful in solving related criminal investigations, or led to the discovery of items apparently intended for criminal purposes. The Department of Justice and the FBI have better control over domestic intelligence activities because current policies more clearly distinguish preliminary from full investigative phases in terms of permissible techniques and duration and scope of investigation and require regular reporting by field offices to FBI headquarters and the Department of Justice. However, while the guidelines have gone a long way toward providing direction and control, they are subject to change over time as personnel change. The extent and nature of the controls themselves could also change since they are not specifically mandated by statute. Congress should clearly mandate what the objectives and scope of domestic intelligence activities should be and what controls should exist.

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