In Module Three, describe a law-enforcement scenario in which you believe it is necessary to employ surveillance and surveillance equipment. Describe the legalities of such an employment, and address any warrants or other legal approvals needed for employment of the surveillance and the surveillance equipment.
Article: Cornell University Law School: Electronic Surveillance
Reviewing this article can enhance law-enforcement officers’ awareness of what they can and cannot do with regard to electronic surveillance. It also provides the level of probable cause necessary in order to get a judge to approve a surveillance request in which a person’s rights will be infringed.
This resource supports the discussion and short paper.
Article: 21st Century Surveillance
This article explains how revolutionary progress in the world of technology has enabled numerous changes in the techniques police officers use to identify, track, and make cases against suspects. Students can use this resource as a research tool for the short paper assignment in this module.
This resource supports the discussion and short paper.
In responding to your peers, critique their approach. Were there any more steps that might have been necessary? Did the scenarios present valid applications of surveillance?
Peer post one
When it comes to surveillance, it can be done on a wide variety of crimes. As it pertains to this assignment, domestic terrorist-like activities would warrant the use of surveillance on a individual or group of individuals suspected of planning terrorist activities. The reason I have chosen this specific realm is because my degree is focused on the counter terrorism aspect. While all of the other crimes that require surveillance have their difficulties, I believe that terrorism can be looked at as a grey area. When conducting surveillance, civil liberties must be taken into consideration. If ones’ liberties are violation, all information gathered in the surveillance phase could be dismissed in court, as we have learned. That is why I believe terrorist activities fall into a unique category unlike others. There are special considerations that must be taken into accountability at all times. The Fourth Amendment would apply to United States citizens at all times. Law enforcement would be unable to gather information and surveillance without data and probable cause to prove to a judge that a warrant is required for more in depth data collection. The Patriot Act is the grey area when it comes to civil liberties though. There are four main parts that make up the Patriot Act: (1) Allows LE the ability to use methods already in place to pursue terrorists, (2) Facilitates information sharing that allows agencies to ‘connect the dots’ in a more timely manner, (3) Updated laws to reflect the forever advancements of technology, and (4) Increased the punishments for those who commit terrorist acts (Patriot, n.d.). While these general revisions to the Patriot Act do not seem significant, when put into practice; they allow LE to react much faster than before. With these previsions, some civil liberties are infringed, such as the Fourth Amendment.
When acting upon the suspicions or intelligence that there are individuals within the United States that are planning to use a weapon of mass destruction or any other type of device in a terrorist-like manner, there have to be special considerations taken into account. First and foremost, the suspects civil liberties. The Fourth Amendment does apply in certain scenarios. The suspect(s) are still provided a level of reasonable privacy. When it comes to terrorism though, that is when the Patriot Act comes into play. Law enforcement are able to request records and documents without the public knowing (Patriot, n.d.). While most warrants and requests that go through open channels are filed for public records, anyone can see what is happening. LE is able to request warrants from special courts that prevent terrorists from being tipped off that they are being actively monitored (Patriot, n.d.). This is a huge advantage because it allows LE to operate not in secret completely, but provides a leg-up so they can get a head of the attack. While there was much controversy over the Patriot Act, believing that it infringed on the civil liberties of others; congress passed H.R. 2048, also known as the Freedom Act of 2015. This Act established more guidance for law enforcement when dealing with suspected terrorists. While this Act did not completely erase the Patriot Act, it just created new guidance to ensure proper procedure is used across the intelligence and law enforcement community. The FISA courts are required to publish reports to increase transparency, increased punishments for terrorist activities, prohibition on bulk intelligence gathering, and much more (H.R. 2048). Not only are the major Acts and policies there to ensure civil liberties are kept intact, so are the rulings on cases heard in the courts. As we learned from Katz v. United States, (1967), the tapping or bugging of electronic devices is illegal as it violates the Fourth Amendment. As we can see, there is a wide variety of ‘plays’ that can infringe on the rights of others. As law enforcement working with the intelligence community, it is imperative that the rules and policies are followed closely or else it could result in the dismissal of a case completely. During an interview with a special agent from the State Department, I asked the question of, “What do you believe the biggest obstacle is when gathering intelligence on a suspect?” The response was, “The difficulties that law enforcement faces are not game changers. What I mean by that is it not something that will prevent us from doing our job. The job entails being able to remain flexible as laws are forever changing. Being able to think outside the box, within reason, and provide a solution to the problem on hand is what this line of work is about. While it may take slightly longer, the job will get done.”
H.R.2048 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. (2015, June 02). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2048/text
Patriot Act: Preserving Life and Liberty. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.justice.gov/archive/ll/highlights.htm
Surveillance and Intelligence Gathering [Personal interview]. (2019, March 18).
Peer post two
Describe a law-enforcement scenario in which you believe it is necessary to employ surveillance and surveillance equipment.
Investigating transnational organized crime (TOC) would be an instance of when surveillance and surveillance equipment would be needed to bring a case against the suspects within the TOC. Because of the multitude of criminal activities that TOC is involved in it would be necessary to conduct surveillance for long periods of time to make a case against their members (Campana, 2011). Without the use of surveillance techniques and equipment it would be very difficult to build a case and prosecute any of the members of a TOC for their violations of laws. The primary focus of any TOC investigation is racketeering which may involve many other crimes (FBI, 2019). Many of these crimes take months or even years of surveillance and investigation to build the legal case necessary to prosecute the member(s) (FBI, 2019).
Describe the legalities of such an employment and address any warrants or other legal approvals needed for employment of the surveillance and the surveillance equipment.
The legalities of conducting surveillance of TOC entities can be very complex because they usually operate internationally (UNODC, 2009). Mutual legal assistance treaties play a vital role in investigations across national borders (UNODC, 2009). However, within the U.S. TOCs will be investigated primarily by the FBI (FBI, n.d.). In order to begin the process to conduct surveillance on a TOC that is suspected of conducting illegal activities within the U.S. probable cause must be shown to get the necessary warrants to conduct the different types of surveillance (wiretapping, other electronic surveillance, etc..) (Marcus, 1998). Any evidence that is gathered without the proper court ordered authorizations could be ruled as inadmissible in court (Marcus, 1998). If wiretapping is utilized in the surveillance it may be necessary to return to the court to “renew” the authorization for it because of the limit of time placed on the original wiretapping authorization (Marcus, 1998). Entrenching an investigator within the TOC is a means of gaining information through the use of an electronic recording device that can be used as long as the information was freely given to the undercover officer (Marcus, 1998). Investigators must not implant or invent the criminal act within the minds of the suspects or cause them to commit the crime. If they do this can be considered entrapment and it would be deemed unlawful (Marcus, 1998). The primary source of federal law that is used to investigate TOCs is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) which was passed by Congress in 1970 (FBI, n.d.). The RICO act closes a loophole in previous law and gives law enforcement the ability to prosecute those that ordered the commission of a crime and not just the act of committing a crime (The U.S. Department of Justice, n.d.).
Campana, P. (2011). Eavesdropping on the Mob: the functional diversification of Mafia activities across territories. European Journal of Criminology, 8(3), 213–228. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1177/147737081…
FBI. (n.d.). What we investigate Transnational organized crime. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/organized-crime
Marcus, P. (1998). The Challenge of Prosecuting Organized Crime in the United States: Procedural Issues. College of William & Mary Law School William & Mary Law School Scholarship Repository. Retrieved from https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi…
The U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). RICO charges. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manua…
UNODC. (2009). Current practices in electronic surveillance in the investigation of serious and organized crime. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/organized-crime/La…