>> The US government is widening the net in it's surveillance of Americans to fight terror. Relaxing restrictions to allow spying on what it calls home grown violent extremists. The new rules drafted not under President Donald Trump, but during the final months of the Obama administration. Cyber security reporter, Dustin Voltz, has the story.
>> The Department of Defense in 2016 updated its manual for how it does intelligence collection activities, and within that was an update to handle intelligence procedures to, in some cases, collect information about Americans.>> The change allows the collection of information on American suspects that have no connection to terror groups overseas.
>> This is different because previously under the earlier defense department manual, it's said that you needed evidence that there was a specific tie to a foreign terrorist group or a foreign power in order to conduct information collection.>> The new procedures are detailed in a series of training slides, seen by Reuters, from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which were provided to Human Rights Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.
The slides list the recent deadly shooting attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. As examples falling under the new category of surveillance. In both cases the shooters declared loyalty to Islamic State, but investigators found no actual links to ISIS.>> The Department of Defense official that we talked to, said that the Internet is allowing sort of a violent ideology to spread much more easily.
It's easier for people to become self-radicalized and they need more flexibility, even if there is not a clear direct tie to one of these foreign terrorist groups.>> The Defense Department told Reuters that this is something that if electronic surveillance is involved, the federal surveillance laws and protections would still apply.
Meaning, a judge would still have to get a warrant if it was being used against a US citizine.>> Privacy and civil liberties advocates say they're alarmed by the increased number of US citizens who could face observation under the new guidelines, claiming the change was made without sufficient oversight.