Domestic Terrorism Management
- What are the limits of power of the FBI in pursuing surveillance of potential terrorists within and without
- In your view, is the FBI adequately organized, staffed, and trained to perform the myriad of missions
- Based on the readings and your research, what is the status of the USA Patriot Improvement and
Reauthorization Act of 2011 and resultant action on the key divisive issues?
- Explain the Department of Homeland Security’s role in combating domestic terrorism. What sub
agencies are involved? What are their missions?
- In your opinion, what vulnerabilities would a terrorist see based on your answers to the above four
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Domestic Terrorism Management
The government agency known as Federal Bureau of Investigations belongs to the US
Department of Justice. It functions as an internal intelligence and federal criminal investigative
body. It is investigates crimes on the individuals in the US that are under the Major Crimes Act.
Since its creation, FBI’s investigatory activities have been restricted by their guidelines to those
within the constitutional limits, especially with respect to intrusion of privacy and unwarranted
surveillance of U.S. Its major role in investigations in the US on terror threats is vested by the
law and by presidential directives (Gorman, 2008). This includes the domestic roles to in
conducting counter intelligence activities to meet foreign undercover work, in investigating
international terrorists threats to the United States and intelligence attempts conducted against
the United States.
The investigations of the FBI vary in many lengths. When they complete their
investigations, the findings are forwarded to the office of the U. S Attorney within the local
jurisdiction and to the sector of Justice in Washington, D. C. On receiving the information, they
decide whether or not to proceed toward prosecution and handle any prosecutions that follows.
Before a full investigation begins, there are certain factors that must be considered that the FBI
guidelines requires. Some these factors includes: the probability that the harm would occur, the
magnitude of the alleged harm and the danger to privacy and free expression imposed by a full
investigation (Gorman, 2008). Under a probable cause standard to satisfy due process
requirements, an agent must have reasonable belief that that a suspect has committed a crime or
is likely to do so. The department must in general obtain a warrant act to conduct surveillance
that would otherwise be an invasion of privacy, unless exigent circumstances exist to require
commencement of search without a warrant (Juden, 2008). The general requirement for starting
a police investigation depends on indication of criminal activity rather than a reasonable
suspicion of criminal activity.
In performing the many missions that are assigned to the FBI, I think it is adequately
organized, staffed and trained to its assigned duties. The department has five functional branches.
It also has the director’s office that handles most administrative offices. The executive assistance
director manages each branch. An assistant director heads each branch of the divided offices and
divisions. The divisions are further divided into sub-branches that are managed by the deputy
assistant director. The office of the director is an important body in FBI and provides the
finances and all the facilities management to the various staff departments including the five
functional branches and other various field divisions. The 59 departments of the FBI at least have
a special fighting unit in combating terrorism, for instance, the Special Weapons and Tactics
team (SWAT). The department also has 56 offices in the countries major cities and it also holds
over 400 occupant agencies across the US (Gorman, 2008). The FBI is all over the country with
many departments, which makes it efficient to act upon any crime within the shortest time
There well equipped laboratories help in fighting terrorism all over the world. Their labs
serve for most DNA, physical, and biological work. The services that they conduct in their labs
include Combined DNA Index System, Firearms and Tool marks, Computer Analysis and
Response, Trace Evidence, DNA Analysis, Explosives, Forensic Audio, and Structural Design.
Many states, the international agencies and local authorities use the results that are gotten from
the library freely. These activities make it possible for the FBI in pursuing surveillance of
DOMESTIC TERRORISM MANAGEMENT 3
potential terrorist within and without the U. S. For one to employed with the FBI they must go
through tests to prove they are clean and fit for the job. The applicant has to be an American
citizens, must have a bachelor’s degree and with a clean record. All their workers need a Top
Secret security clearance. The personnel management office conducts a series of background
investigation conducted that one must pass to be an employee in the FBI departments that are
located across the US. With such activities, the country is assured that they are being protected
by the best and properly trained people who are aware of all the terrorist techniques.
The Patriot Act is damaging to the basic individual freedoms that Americans have always
valued. Itwas intended for the fight against terrorism after the September 11 attacks, but the
measures stated in the Act generated massive debates over whether or not the Patriot Act reduces
individual freedom (Juden, 2008). Considering the circumstances under which the law was
voted, it is not surprising that the legislation was passed, but there are parts of the Act that
require further analysis that will most likely show that it is endangering essential freedoms.
The USA Patriot Act weakens the fourth Amendment protection of all citizens, and not
just suspected terrorists by authorizing warrantless searches and delayed notification. The Act
also broadens sneak and peek searches, which is a search that occurs in the suspect’s absence and
without his or her prior knowledge, and this enhances the power of prosecutors in court. The
normal procedure for search warrants when executed is to leave a copy of the warrant if the place
is unoccupied, and to do an inventory and return with the warrant.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mainly responsible for ensuring that the
United States is secure from terrorist attacks and any other disasters that may interrupt national
security. It has focused on federal preparations to cover terrorism since the attack of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks as they try to manage other responsibilities such as border security, emergency
and custom management. Various federal agencies and offices were pulled together into newly
established Homeland Security, which is now led by Tom Ridge. In its creation some agencies
maintained their co-operate names and missions while others ceased to exist. The duties of those
who did not collaborate were distributed among the new Department of Homeland Security
(Martin, 2010). For instance, the US custom service, which was part of the Treasury
Department, was split into US Customs and Boarder protection it has many different agencies
that has different responsibilities.
There is the department of Directorate for Science and Technology that is responsible for
protecting the citizens from any nuclear, chemical, and explosive attacks. It has all the
technology needed to the federal officials that can detect any attempt of terrorist attacks using
any explosives. The Domestic nuclear detection office develops high technology screening
methods that can detect any nuclear weapon entering United States through the seaports or
border crossing. There is the Federal Emergency Management agency that coordinates the
government response to natural threats and fabricated disasters. The Office Infrastructure
Protection agency helps in securing buildings and other structures across US and uses such
technologies that can detect explosives the terrorists use. It also identifies locations and
measuring their exposure to any attacks (Johnson, 2012). All these departments work hand in
hand with the federal police and the cooperation of US citizens to fight terror attacks, hence,
making it easier to realize any forms of terrorism that is in the United State. This has made it
possible for the US to be safe from the terror attacks.
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I think, with the diverse departments that the FBI has all over the country, it has a great
impact on the actions of terrorists. Their labs serve for most DNA, physical, and biological
works. The services that they conduct in their labs include Combined DNA Index System,
Firearms and Tool marks, Computer Analysis and Response, Trace Evidence, DNA
Analysis, Explosives, Forensic Audio, and Structural Design (Martin, 2010). The results are
shared with other states creating awareness of any act of terrorism. Other countries also provide
them with information of crime and they are always aware of the activities of terrorists, making
it impossible for them to perform any attacks. Through all these activities, they are able to
identify any possibility of a crime and act upon it immediately.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM MANAGEMENT 5
Martin, C. Augustus. (2010). Essentials of Terrorism 2nd Ed + Issues in Terrorism and
Homeland Security. Sage Pubns.
Johnson, N. (2012). Senate debates DHS’ role in regulating cybersecurity. Federal Times, 48(4),
Juden, D. (2008). Police Practice: The Sikeston Department of Public Safety. FBI Law
Enforcement Bulletin, 77(8), 10.
Gorman, S. (2008, April 2). Pentagon Uses FBI to Collect Data on People in the U.S. Wall Street
Journal – Eastern Edition. p. A2.