In a broad new policy, the Department of Justice is set to ban religious and other forms of profiling by federal law-enforcement officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Under the new guidelines, to be issued in about three weeks, there will be no exemption for national-security investigations, sources told the newspaper. National-security officials and others in the administration concerned about terrorism lobbied hard for such an exemption, according to congressional sources, the paper writes.
The new policy will cover ethnicity and sexual orientation as well as religion. Advocates of the new policy said they were surprised because the debate over the national-security exemption had blocked movement for months, according to the report.
The news comes in the wake of an announcement by Eric H. Holder Jr. that he plans to step down as attorney general. The announcement about the new policy was put on hold by the White House just days before Holder’s expected announcement, according to a congressional aide who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, the Times writes. The administration insisted that the policy be reviewed for its national-security implications by the Department of Homeland Security, the aide told the newspaper.
The new guidelines, which are still being finalized, would bar “federal agents from conducting undercover surveillance of a mosque, for example, without some information that criminal activity is under way,” the report says. Under current policy, promulgated in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, law-enforcement agencies were given broad latitude to monitor specific religious groups, the Times writes.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.