(1) A general crimes investigation may be initiated by the FBI when facts or circumstances reasonably indicate that a federal crime has been, is being, or will be committed. The investigation may be conducted to prevent, solve, or prosecute such criminal activity.
The standard of "reasonable indication" is substantially lower than probable cause. In determining whether there is reasonable indication of a federal criminal violation, a Special Agent may take into account any facts or circumstances that a prudent investigator would consider. However, the standard does require specific facts or circumstances indicating a past, current, or future violation. There must be an objective, factual basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient.
(2) Where a criminal act may be committed in the future, preparation for that act can be a current criminal violation under the conspiracy or attempt provisions of federal criminal law or other provisions defining preparatory crimes, such as 18 U.S.C. 373 (solicitation of a crime of violence) or 18 U.S.C. 2339A (including provision of material support in preparation for a terrorist crime). The standard for opening an investigation is satisfied where there is not yet a current substantive or preparatory crime, but facts or circumstances reasonably indicate that such a crime will occur in the future.
(3) The FBI supervisor authorizing an investigation shall assure that the facts or circumstances meeting the standard of reasonable indication have been recorded in writing.
In sensitive criminal matters, as defined in paragraph A(2), the United States Attorney or an appropriate Department of Justice official, as well as FBIHQ, shall be notified in writing of the basis for an investigation as soon as practicable after commencement of the investigation.
(4) The Special Agent conducting an investigation shall maintain periodic written or oral contact with the appropriate federal prosecutor, as circumstances require and as requested by the prosecutor.
When, during an investigation, a matter appears arguably to warrant prosecution, the Special Agent shall present the relevant facts to the appropriate federal prosecutor. In every sensitive criminal matter, the FBI shall notify the appropriate federal prosecutor of the termination of an investigation within 30 days of such termination. Information on investigations which have been closed shall be available on request to a United States Attorney or his or her designee or an appropriate Department of Justice official.
(5) When a serious matter investigated by the FBI is referred to state or local authorities for prosecution, the FBI, insofar as resources permit, shall promptly advise the federal prosecutor in writing if the state or local authorities decline prosecution or fail to commence prosecutive action within 120 days. Where an FBI field office cannot provide this follow-up, the SAC shall so advise the federal prosecutor.
(6) When credible information is received concerning serious criminal activity not within the FBI investigative jurisdiction, the FBI field office shall promptly transmit the information or refer the complainant to the law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction, except where disclosure would jeopardize an ongoing investigation, endanger the safety of an individual, disclose the identity of an informant, interfere with an informant's cooperation, or reveal legally privileged information. If full disclosure is not made for the reasons indicated, then whenever feasible the FBI field office shall make at least limited disclosure to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction, and full disclosure shall be made as soon as the need for restricting dissemination is no longer present. Where full disclosure is not made to the appropriate law enforcement agencies within 180 days, the FBI field office shall promptly notify FBI Headquarters in writing of the facts and circumstances concerning the criminal activity. The FBI shall make a periodic report to the Deputy Attorney General on such nondisclosure and incomplete disclosures, in a form suitable to protect the identity of informants.
Whenever information is received concerning unauthorized criminal activity by a confidential informant, it shall be handled in accordance with the Attorney General's Guidelines Regarding the Use of Confidential Informants.
(7) All requirements regarding investigations shall apply to reopened investigations. In sensitive criminal matters, the United States Attorney or the appropriate Department of Justice official shall be notified in writing as soon as practicable after the reopening of an investigation.