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Feds to record interrogations in "sweeping" policy change

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the Justice Department, March 19, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced a "sweeping new policy" on Thursday, instructing federal agencies to begin recording interrogations of suspects beginning July 11.

In a video statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said the new policy would apply to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Marshal Service.

"Creating an electronic record will ensure that we have an objective account of key investigations and interviews with people who are held in federal custody," said Holder.

According to the Arizona Republic, which first reported news of the policy shift, FBI agents have been barred from recording interrogations and interviewed without special permission since the bureau's inception in 1908.

Holder said that the policy "encourages video recording whenever possible and audio recording when video is unavailable."

Agencies were informed of the policy change on May 12 in a memo from Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com