FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDELINES
TO SHARE INFORMATION BETWEEN FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
AND THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Attorney General announced today three new guidelines designed to institutionalize the ongoing sharing of information between federal law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community. Pursuant to new authority and requirements contained in the USA PATRIOT Act, the guidelines issued today for Sections 203 and 905 of that Act will aid federal law enforcement and the intelligence community in their cooperative fight against terrorism. These guidelines, together with the Justice Department's substantial information sharing efforts in the last year, provide a framework for continued cooperation to ensure that information about terrorism and other threats to national security is shared expeditiously and fully among relevant government agencies.
Before passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, a prosecutor was not permitted to disclose federal grand jury and electronic, wire, and oral interception information to federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security officials, even if that information indicated that terrorists were planning a future attack, unless such officials were assisting with the criminal investigation itself. Section 203 of the USA PATRIOT Act allows the dissemination of that information to assist these officials in the performance of their official duties, such as protecting the nation's security, even if unrelated to the criminal investigation. Today's guidelines establish procedures for the disclosure to the intelligence community of grand jury and electronic, wire, and oral interception information that identifies a United States person, as defined by federal law. These procedures require that all such information be labeled by law enforcement agencies before disclosure to intelligence agencies and be handled by intelligence agencies pursuant to specific protocols designed to ensure its appropriate use. For example, information identifying a U.S. person must be deleted from intelligence information except in narrowly circumscribed circumstances. The Attorney General's guidelines therefore provide important privacy safeguards to U.S. citizens identified in information disclosed to the intelligence community under the USA PATRIOT Act.
Section 905(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act requires federal law enforcement agencies, pursuant to guidelines developed by the Attorney General, to disclose expeditiously to the Director of Central Intelligence foreign intelligence acquired in the course of a criminal investigation. Federal law enforcement agencies, both prior to and since the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, had already established mechanisms for the sharing of foreign intelligence acquired in the course of criminal investigations, and such sharing with the intelligence community has occurred on a regular basis. Today's guidelines formalize the procedures and mechanisms already established for the Department of Justice and other federal law enforcement agencies that may acquire foreign intelligence in the course of a criminal investigation.
The Attorney General also announced guidelines pursuant to section 905(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act, which address the procedures by which the Criminal Division of the Justice Department notifies the Director of Central Intelligence of its intent to commence or decline criminal investigation of possible criminal activity involving foreign intelligence sources or potential foreign intelligence sources.