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Electronic Surveillance of Terrorism in the United States

16 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011 Last revised: 7 Sep 2011

William Funk

Lewis & Clark Law School

Date Written: September 11, 2010


This short article, prepared for an international forum on criminal procedure, describes the history of the use of electronic surveillance to combat terrorism in the United States. It shows how the restrictions on its use has evolved into a compromise between traditional law enforcement norms and military/national security norms, just as the apprehension and treatment of terrorists has muddled the law enforcement and military roles. The article concludes that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s compromise is a reasonable accommodation of the peculiar characteristics of modern, international terrorism.

Keywords: national security, criminal procedure, constitutional law, electronic surveillance, terrorism, Fourth Amendment

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Funk, William, Electronic Surveillance of Terrorism in the United States (September 11, 2010). Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 80, No. 4, 2011; Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-19. Available at SSRN:

William F. Funk (Contact Author)

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

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