DETROIT, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Arab-Americans in Detroit say they're worried new FBI counter-terrorism powers will end up being used to target innocent U.S. citizens.
In a last-minute rule change before he leaves office, President George Bush amended U.S. Department of Justice guidelines to allow the FBI to use confidential informants to gather intelligence in preliminary probes, interview people without identifying who they are and spy on suspects without first getting clear evidence of wrongdoing, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.
That has Arab-American leaders in Detroit, the U.S. city with the biggest concentration of ethnic Arab citizens, concerned that authorities will use racial profiling to spy on Muslims who have no connection to terrorism, infiltrating mosques and snooping into private lives.
"There is anxiety the Middle Eastern community will be targeted," Dearborn, Mich., attorney Nabih Ayad told the Free Press. "There is always a danger in the implementation when you give such discretion in the hands of agents."
The FBI says it needs the rule changes to overcome outdated restrictions and say the new guidelines won't target innocent people, noting the rules state they must be applied in a "reasonable manner that respects liberty and privacy."