Legal groups to offer free advice for targets of FBI interview

Friday, December 7, 2001

CHICAGO -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and several other organizations announced Thursday they will offer free legal services to those designated for questioning by the U.S. Justice Department.

Last month, the Justice Department announced plans to interview 5,000 young male foreigners from the Middle East and countries where terrorists are known to operate. Federal agents were told to work with local and state police to find people for questioning.

Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU, said the people targeted for investigation are in need of legal council because of the type of questions being asked.

"It is in the highest tradition of the American bar that these organizations and attorneys step forward and offer their services without compensation to these individuals," he said. "In so doing, these attorneys also fulfill our fundamental constitutional values."

The Justice Department has issued guidelines to U.S. attorneys across the nation on what questions to ask the men targeted. Prosecutors want to know the individual's political beliefs and the beliefs of family and friends; whether they support causes advocated by terrorists; and telephone numbers used by the individual, his family or close associates.

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