[Congressional Record: May 21, 2008 (Extensions)]
[Page E989]

                      WITH THE LEVI FBI GUIDELINES


                     HON. ROBERT C. ``BOBBY'' SCOTT

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, May 20, 2008

  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, May 30th, 2002 Attorney General 
John Ashcroft changed the guidelines established by Attorney General 
Edward Levi in 1976 to curb abuses by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigations (FBI), following revelations of an FBI ``enemies list'' 
in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
  The Levi Guidelines were adopted after the Church Committee found 
that the FBI had developed over 500,000 domestic intelligence files on 
Americans and domestic groups and had clearly targeted investigations 
to disrupt the efforts of dissenters. This famed Committee detailed the 
disturbing extent to which the FBI had spied on Americans such as Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr., former Navy officer Father Roy Bourgeois, and 
Holocaust survivor and grandmother Edith Bell, all of whom were 
peaceful protestors and advocates for their beliefs.
  While the Levi guidelines ensured there was a justifiable criminal 
investigation and supervision of such investigations, the Ashcroft 
Guidelines have enabled the FBI to investigate groups and individuals 
whether or not there was evidence of criminal activity. The Levi 
Guidelines required that limited FBI investigations be instigated by 
facts or circumstances that reasonably indicate a federal crime has 
been, is being or will be committed. Under the Ashcroft Guidelines, we 
have even seen college students endure taxpayer funded FBI 
interrogations and investigations for simply placing irreverent posters 
up in their college communities. In one case, the FBI resorted to 
grilling a North Carolina college student about ``un-American 
materials'' in her apartment, such as a poster of George W. Bush 
holding a noose. It read, ``We hang on your every word.'' While some 
may argue this is not in good taste, it is far from a potential act of 
  The Ashcroft Guidelines have allowed the FBI to attend and begin to 
track those present in every public meeting, at every demonstration and 
visiting all internet chat rooms. Americans need to be able to meet and 
debate without fear that their associations and dissent will end up in 
an FBI database at every turn. By severing the tie between evidence of 
crime and initial FBI surveillance, the Ashcroft Guidelines 
fundamentally alter the role of the FBI in our society and ignore the 
very basis for adoption of the original Levi Guidelines.
  My Resolution is simple. It calls on Congress to reinstate the Levi 
guidelines which provide better protections for ordinary Americans from 
unwarranted, domestic FBI spying, on this, the 6-year anniversary of 
the eradication of such critical guidelines. This will end domestic 
spying such as that documented by the Church Committee report, where 
there is no evidence of criminal activity, while ensuring that the FBI 
can investigate anyone as long as there is a rational basis for doing 
  For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution 
urging that the Ashcroft Guidelines be replaced with a return to the 
Levi Guidelines.