Jesse Trentadue continues to excavate under the foundations of the government's cover-up both of the death of his brother and the true circumstances of the Oklahoma City Bombing.
As part of the discovery in his case, a heavily redacted section regarding something the FBI calls "Sensitive Investigative Matters" from that agency's current Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide has come to light. Even given the redactions, it makes interesting reading.
(MBV Note: "U" stands for Unclassified. "FOUO" means "For Official Use Only."
Section 10.1 (U) Sensitive Investigative Matters (SIM)10.1.1(U) Overview(U) Certain investigative matters should be brought to the attention of FBI management and Department of Justice (DPJ) officials because of the possibility of public notoriety and sensitivity. Accordingly, Assessments and Predicated Investigations involving "sensitive investigative matters" have special approval and reporting requirements.10.1.2 (U) Purpose, Scope, and Definitions10.1.2.1 (U) Definition of Sensitive Investigative Matters (SIM)(U/FOUO) A sensitive investigative matter (SIM) is defined as an investigative matter involving the activities of a domestic public official or domestic political candidate (involving corruption or a threat to national security), a religious or domestic political organization or individual prominent in such an organization, or the news media; an investigative matter having an academic nexus, or any other matter which, in the judgment of the official authorizing the investigation, should be brought to the attention of FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ) and other DOJ officials. (Attorney General's Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations (ACG-Dom), Part VII.N.) As a matter of FBI policy, "judgment" means that the decision of the authorizing official is discretionary.(U/FOUO) The phrase "investigative matter involving the activities of" is intended to focus on the behaviors and /or activities of the subject, target, or subject matter of the Assessment or Predicated Investigation. The phrase is generally not intended to include a witness or victim in the Assessment or Predicated Investigation. This definition does not, however, prohibit a determination that the status, involvement, or impact on a particular witness or victim would make the Assessment or Predicated Investigation a SIM under subsection 10.1.2.2.7 below.10.1.2.2 (U) Definitions/Descriptions of SIM Officials and Entities(U) Description for each of the officials and entities contained in the SIM definition are as follows:10.1.2.2.1 (U) Domestic Public Official.(U/FOUO) A domestic public official is an elected official or an appointed official serving in a judicial, legislative, management, or executive-level position in a Federal, state, local, or tribal government entity or political subdivision thereof. A matter involving a domestic public official is a SIM if the Assessment or Predicated Investigation involves corruption or a threat to national security.(U/FOUO) This definition is intended to exclude lower level positions and most line positions, such as a patrol officer or office secretary from the SIM category, but it does include supervisory personnel (e.g. police Sergeant or Lieutenant). The SIM definition also eliminates the "position of trust" language.10.1.2.2.2 (U) Domestic Political Candidate(U/FOUO) A domestic political candidate is an individual who is seeking election to, or nomination for election to, or who has authorized others to explore on his or her behalf the possibility of election to an office in a Federal, state, local, or tribal government entity or political subdivision thereof. As with domestic public officials, a matter involving a political candidate is a SIM if the Assessment or Predicated Investigation involves corruption or a threat to national security.10.1.2.2.3. (Domestic Political Organization or Individual Prominent in Such an Organization.(MBV NOTE: ENTIRE SECTION REDACTED.)10.1.2.2.4 (U) Religious Organization or Individual Prominent in Such an Organization.(MBV NOTE: ENTIRE SECTION REDACTED.)10.1.2.2.5 (U) Member of the News Media or a News Organization.(MBV NOTE: FIRST TWO SECTIONS REDACTED.)(U/FOUO) Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of newspapers or periodicals that mke their products available to the public at large in print form or through Internet distribution. A freelance journalist may be considered to be a member of the media if the journalist has a contract with the news entity or has a history of publishing content. Publishing a newsletter or operating a website does not by itself qualify an individual as a member of the media. Businesses, law firms, and trade associations offer newsletters or have websites; these are not considered news media. As the term is used in the DIOG, "news media" is not intended to include persons and entities that simply make information available. Instead, It is intended to apply to a person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the general public, uses editorial skills to turn raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience, as a journalism professional.(U/FOUO) If there is a doubt about wjether a particular person or entity should be considered part of the "news media," the doubt should be resolved in favor of considering the person or entity to be the "news media."(U/FOUO) See the classified provision in DIOG Appendix G for additional guidance on SIMs.10.1.2.2.6 (U) Academic Nexus(MBV NOTE: FIRST TWO SECTIONS ARE REDACTED.)(U/FOUO) The sensitivity related to an academic institution arises from the American tradition of "academic freedom" (i.e., an atmosphere in which students and faculty are free to express unorthodox ideas and views and to challenge conventional thought without fear of repercussion. Academic freedom does not mean, however, that academic institutions are off limits to FBI investigators in pursuit of information or individuals of legitimate investigative interest.(MBV NOTE: LAST SECTION REDACTED.)10.1.2.2.7 (U) Other Matters(U/FOUO) Any matter that in the judgment of the official authorizing an investigation should be brought to the attention of FBIHQ and other DOJ officials is also a SIM. As a matter of FBI policy, "judgment" means that the decision of the authorizing official is discretionary.
A long-time Washington observer source of mine said this is the "key issue: is there even the slightest review and oversight by Congress or the Judiciary? First, having the DOJ, and the DOJ alone, responsible for reviewing FBI domestic operations is a huge evasion of constitutional responsibility."
Section 10.1.3. is entitled: (U) Factors to Consider When Opening or Approving an Investigative Activity Involving a SIM:
(U/FOUO) In addition to the standards for approving investigative activity in Sections 5,6,7, 8 and 9, the following factors should be considered by (i) the FBI employee who seeks to open an Assessment or Predicated Investigation involving a SIM, as well as by the (ii) Chief Division Counsel (CDC) or Office of the General Counsel (OGC) when reviewing such matters, and (iii) the approving official when determining whether the Assessment or Predicated Investigation involving a SIM should be authorized:A) (U/FOUO) Seriousness/severity of the violation/threat;B) (U/FOUO) Significance of the information sought to the violation/threat;C) (U/FOUO)Probability that the proposed course of action will be successful;D) (U/FOUO) Risk of public exposure, and if there is such a risk, the adverse impact or the perception of the advrese impact on civil liberties and public confidence; andE) (U/FOUO) Risk to the national security or the public welfare if the proposed course of action is not approved (i.e., risk of doing nothing).
"Risk of public exposure." Ah, yes, cockroaches -- especially secret poltical police cockroaches -- hate the light.
Much of the manual has been redacted and/or withheld. As one source observed:
Chapters 1 - 9 and 11 - 17 withheld totally.Chapter 18, pages 1 to 18, 20 - 23, and 26 -29 withheld totally. We don't know how many Chapters there are in this guide, so there may be even much more withheld.
Section 126.96.36.199.8.2, entitled "Use of Subterfuge" reads "To the extent operational needs allow, investigators must operate openly and consensually with members of the news media." (Note: The bulk of the paragraph after that is redacted.) One source commented:
(Regarding the) "Use of Subterfuge," there is this "loophole": "To the extent operational needs allow..." I think you could drive a Mack truck or two through that one. . . Who gets to determine what the "operational needs" are?? Oh, the guy on the scene...'
The same source commented on this language in Section 188.8.131.52.9:
"During an Assessment - Requesting Information Without Revealing FBI Affiliation or the True Purpose of a Request": "... should divulge the employee's affiliation with the FBI and the true purpose of the interview..."
The source asked: "What happened to the word 'must'? -- Any child learns at a very early age that there is a huge difference between what parents say "should" be done, and what "must" be done. I guess DOJ/FBI lawyers have just forgotten, or overlooked the distinction."
I do not think, gentle readers, that the FBI and DOJ "forgot" or "overlooked" anything in this manual except perhaps how even the tamer, unredacted language would read to someone who wasn't sworn to protect the reputation of their agency as it goes about its daily business of imitating an American Stasi.
We owe a great debt to Jesse Trentadue for getting even this bare glimpse into that world of tax-paid political police spies.The document, such as it is, can be read here.