US Political Surveillance and Homeland Security

Identify the primary law enforcement agency responsible for political surveillance in the investigation of terrorism in the United States

Terrorism is a critical issue for the whole world. In the USA, it is addressed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This agency deals with the development of counterterrorism investigations and develops those reforms that are needed to prevent criminal activity within the country (Granick, 2017). Due to the FBI, the USA obtains an opportunity to act proactively and to identify possible threats even before they occur and affect the country and its population.

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The agency makes the process of terrorism prevention flexible so that the outcomes of its activities become more advantageous for the population. Professionals use various advanced tools that provide them with an opportunity to gather and analyze information needed to combat terrorism.

Identify legislation and judicial decisions enacted for the purposes of overseeing and limiting political surveillance

The FBI has numerous opportunities to gather data about its citizens and people who come to the country. This information is needed to ensure security and investigate crimes. Political surveillance is one of these tools. It presupposes the monitoring of human activities that can be conducted even without informing them. Technological development contributes to surveillance significantly, as different equipment can be used to improve the quality of data (Ackerman, 2017). However, the necessity to ensure people’s right to privacy makes legislators and judges develop limits for political surveillance.

For instance, the use of wiretaps can be approved only for particular crimes and require supervision. Moreover, it cannot constantly be used and is approved only for a limited period of time. The possibility to gather information about foreigners can be obtained only if it meets a particular purpose that is identified by the USA PATRIOT Act as significant (Bjelopera, 2013). Search warrants are required if the representatives of the police, the FBI, or similar agencies are willing to investigate people’s belongings. However, they cannot be provided without any evidence of the suspects’ involvement in a crime.

All in all, it is vital to remember that the information obtained in the framework of political surveillance can be used only in case of a particular crime. In other words, everything that is gathered in this way remains secure. Thus, people’s privacy is secured even though surveillance is present. However, the rights of foreigners tend to be less protected, which affects authorities’ decisions regarding the use of monitoring techniques. Moreover, many US citizens consider that their privacy is violated by this practice that is why its usage remains a critical issue.

Recognize the importance and significance of the Attorney General Guidelines for the FBI relating to political surveillance

The Attorney General Guidelines include instructions that should be followed by professionals when performing their duties. In particular, the employees of the FBI are expected to shape their activities according to this guide. It is considered that such activities will make professionals more confident and their practice more effective.

These Guidelines include numerous rules that are associated with political surveillance as well. For instance, they provide limitations associated with the procedure of an inquiry. It is stated that nonconsensual electronic surveillance should not be performed as one of those techniques that allow the members of the FBI to investigate cases. In addition to that, the Attorney General Guidelines underlines that it is possible to use both physical and photographic surveillance even without authorization in particular situations. However, it is also mentioned that in the majority of cases, it is critical to obtain a warrant in order to use electronic surveillance (Office of the Attorney General, 2016). Otherwise, evidence received in this way will not be used.

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Thus, it can be concluded that the Attorney General Guidelines affect the activities of the FBI significantly. It provides limitations relating to political surveillance and emphasizes how it should be performed. Thus, these Guidelines shapes professionals’ performance and prevent the exceeding of the FBI’s authority, protecting people’s privacy.


Ackerman, S. (2017). NSA concedes violating surveillance limits and pledges curbs on US email collection. Web.

Bjelopera, J. (2013). The federal bureau of investigation and terrorism investigations. Web.

Granick, J. (2017). Mass spying isn’t just intrusive – It’s ineffective. Web.

Office of the Attorney General. (2016). The attorney general’s guidelines on general crimes, racketeering enterprise and domestic security/terrorism investigations. Web.

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