It would allow an agent, for instance, to pursue an anonymous tip about terrorism by conducting an undercover interview or watching someone in a public place. Such steps are now prohibited unless there is more specific evidence of wrongdoing.
The plan is the latest in a series of steps by the Bush administration to extend key aspects of its counterterrorism strategy beyond the end of President Bush’s tenure. An executive order from Mr. Bush in August rewrote the rules for the nation’s 16 spy agencies, and an administration legislative proposal before Congress would reaffirm that the country “remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda.”
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The proposed guidelines combine several sets of procedures into a single document governing what F.B.I. agents can and cannot do in criminal and national security investigations.
The review of the guidelines generated intense interest and occasional criticism from lawmakers and others over the summer, and the Justice Department took the unusual step on Friday of holding briefings for reporters and for civil rights advocates and showing them the draft plan.