By PETE YOST
WASHINGTON: Under fire from US civil liberties groups, the FBI is defending domestic surveillance guidelines that critics fear could unfairly target innocent Muslims in terrorism and other criminal investigations.
“It’s quite an invasive data collection system,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of the nonprofit group Muslim Advocates. “It’s based on generalized suspicion and fear on the part of law enforcement, not on individualized evidence of criminal activity.”
Khera spoke in an interview on the eve of a Capitol Hill appearance by FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was scheduled to testify Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In a statement, the bureau said its procedures are designed to ensure that FBI probes don’t zero in on anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or the exercise of any other constitutional right.