Other Authorized Activities

Current counterterrorism priorities and the advent of the Internet have raised a number of issues which did not exist in any comparable form when the last general revision of these Guidelines was carried out in 1989 - a time long preceding the September 11 attack's disclosure of the full magnitude of the terrorist threat to the United States, and a time in which the Internet was not available in any developed form as a source of information for counterterrorism and other anti-crime purposes. Part VI of these Guidelines is designed to provide clear authorizations and statements of governing principles for a number of important activities that affect these areas. Among other things, Part VI makes it clear that the authorized law enforcement activities of the FBI include: (i) operating and participating in counterterrorism information systems, such as the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (VI.A(1)); (ii) visiting places and events which are open to the public for the purpose or detecting or preventing terrorist activities (VI.A(2)); (iii) carrying out general topical research, such as searching online under terms like "anthrax" or "smallpox" to obtain publicly available information about agents that may be used in bioterrorism attacks (VI.B(1)); (iv) surfing the Internet as any member of the public might do to identify, e.g., public websites, bulletin boards, and chat rooms in which bomb making instructions, child pornography, or stolen credit card information is openly traded or disseminated, and observing information open to public view in such forums to detect terrorist activities and other criminal activities (VI.B(2)); (v) preparing general reports and assessments relating to terrorism or other criminal activities in support of strategic planning and investigative operations (VI.B(3)); and (vi) providing investigative assistance to the Secret Service in support of its protective responsibilities (VI.B(4)).