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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Domestic Terrorist Threat: Background and Issues for Congress

The Domestic Terrorist Threat: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: May 15, 2012
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P.
Description: In the last decade, domestic terrorists-people who commit crimes within the homeland and draw inspiration from U.S.-based extremist ideologies and movements-have killed American citizens and damaged property across the country. Not all of these criminals have been prosecuted under terrorism statutes. This report discusses domestic terrorism's significance to policymakers per five topics: level of activity, use of nontraditional tactics, exploitation of the internet, decentralized nature of the threat, and prison radicalization. The report also discusses three areas that Congress may consider the federal role of combating such activities: the issue of definitions, adequacy of domestic terrorism intelligence collection efforts, and the value of community outreach driven efforts to quell terrorism related radicalization in the United States.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court

Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court

Date: May 9, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: The initiation of military commission proceedings against Khalid Sheik Mohammad and four others for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks has focused renewed attention on the differences between trials in federal court and those conducted by military commission. This report provides a brief summary of legal issues raised by the choice of forum for trying accused terrorists and a chart comparing selected military commissions rules under the Military Commissions Act, as amended, to the corresponding rules that apply in federal court.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress

Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress

Date: April 20, 2012
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun
Description: This report explores current foreign policy issues confronting U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, the interrelationship among existing polices, and the historical and current role of Congress in such efforts. The 112th Congress has introduced and taken action on several bills related to human trafficking. Given recent challenges in balancing budget priorities, the 112th Congress may choose to consider certain aspects of this issue further, including the effectiveness of international anti-trafficking projects, interagency coordination mechanisms, and the monitoring and enforcement of anti-trafficking regulations, particularly as they relate to the activities of U.S. government contractors and subcontractors operating overseas.
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Crime Victims' Rights Act: A Summary and Legal Analysis of 18 U.S.C. 3771

Crime Victims' Rights Act: A Summary and Legal Analysis of 18 U.S.C. 3771

Date: April 24, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: An overview of rights afforded to federal crime victims. The report describes who qualifies for these rights and follows with a description of the rights.
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The Interplay of Borders, Turf, Cyberspace, and Jurisdiction: Issues Confronting U.S. Law Enforcement

The Interplay of Borders, Turf, Cyberspace, and Jurisdiction: Issues Confronting U.S. Law Enforcement

Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: Globalization and technological innovation have fostered the expansion of both legitimate and criminal operations across physical borders as well as throughout cyberspace. U.S. law enforcement has increasingly relied on intelligence-led policing, enhanced interagency cooperation, and technological implementation to confront 21st century crime. Issues for Congress are how it can leverage its legislative and oversight roles to bolster U.S. law enforcement's abilities to confront modern-day crime. It may also examine whether federal law enforcement is utilizing existing mechanisms to effectively coordinate investigations and share information.
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Identity Theft: Trends and Issues

Identity Theft: Trends and Issues

Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: In 2010, about 8.1 million Americans were reportedly victims of identity fraud, and the average identity fraud victim incurred a mean of $631 in costs as a result of the fraud—the highest level since 2007. Identity theft is often committed to facilitate other crimes such as credit card fraud, document fraud, or employment fraud, which in turn can affect not only the nation's economy but its security. Consequently, in securing the nation and its economic health, policy makers are also tasked with reducing identity theft and its impact.
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Cybersecurity: Cyber Crime Protection Security Act (S. 2111)—A Legal Analysis

Cybersecurity: Cyber Crime Protection Security Act (S. 2111)—A Legal Analysis

Date: March 12, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: The Cyber Crime Protection Security Act (S. 2111) would enhance the criminal penalties for the cyber crimes outlawed in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Those offenses include espionage, hacking, fraud, destruction, password trafficking, and extortion committed against computers and computer networks. S. 2111 contains some of the enhancements approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee when it reported the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act (S. 1151), S.Rept. 112-91 (2011).
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Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources

Date: April 26, 2012
Creator: Tehan, Rita
Description: Congress has been actively involved in cybersecurity issues, holding hearings every year since 2001. There is no shortage of data on this topic: government agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, security consultants, and trade associations have issued hundreds of reports, studies, analyses, and statistics. This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cybersecurity issues.
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Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement

Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement

Date: May 23, 2012
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M. & Theohary, Catherine A.
Description: This report gives an overview of cybercrime, which can include crimes such as identity theft, payment card fraud, and intellectual property theft. The report discusses where the criminal acts exist (in both the real and digital worlds), motivations for cybercrimes, and who is committing them, as well as government definitions, strategies, and methods of tracking cybercrime.
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Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources

Date: April 26, 2012
Creator: Tehan, Rita
Description: Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Congress has been actively involved in cybersecurity issues, holding hearings every year since 2001. There is no shortage of data on this topic: government agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, security consultants, and trade associations have issued hundreds of reports, studies, analyses, and statistics. This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cybersecurity issues and will be updated as needed.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background and Funding

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background and Funding

Date: June 2, 2011
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Legislation introduced in the 111th Congress would reauthorize the COPS program through FY2014 and reestablish COPS as a multi-grant program. This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the COPS program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity

Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity

Date: February 3, 2012
Creator: Murrill, Brandon J.; Liu, Edward, C. & Thompson, Richard M., II
Description: Fueled by stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), electric utilities have accelerated their deployment of smart meters to millions of homes across the United States with help from the Department of Energy's Smart Grid Investment Grant program. As the meters multiply, so do issues concerning the privacy and security of the data collected by the new technology. Smart meters must record near-real time data on consumer electricity usage and transmit the data to utilities over great distances via communications networks that serve the smart grid. Detailed electricity usage data offers a window into the lives of people inside of a home by revealing what individual appliances they are using, and the transmission of the data potentially subjects this information to interception or theft by unauthorized third parties or hackers. Unforeseen consequences under federal law may result from the installation of smart meters and the communications technologies that accompany them. This report examines federal privacy and cybersecurity laws that may apply to consumer data collected by residential smart meters.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Siskin, Alison & Wyler, Liana Sun
Description: Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of international criminal activity and is of significant concern to the United States and the international community. This report discusses the global and ongoing problem of TIP in detail, as well as anti-TIP programs and U.S. and international efforts to combat TIP.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Terrorist Watch List Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms

Terrorist Watch List Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: The November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, TX, renewed interest in terrorist watchlist screening and Brady background checks for firearms through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In the 110th Congress, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Peter King introduced a bill based on a legislative proposal developed by DOJ that would have authorized the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms (and explosives) licenses/permits to "dangerous terrorists." They reintroduced this proposal in the 111th Congress and supporters dubbed it the "Terror Gap" proposal. It was reintroduced once again in the 112th Congress. The Terror Gap proposal raises several potential issues for Congress, which are discussed in this report.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Date: January 5, 2012
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Over the past several years, policymakers have been concerned about Iran's increasing activities in Latin America, particularly its relations with Venezuela, although there has been disagreement over the extent and significance of Iran's relations with the region. In the 112th Congress, several initiatives have been introduced related to terrorism issues in the Western Hemisphere regarding Mexico, Venezuela, and the activities of Iran and Hezbollah, and several oversight hearings have been held.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Organized Crime: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Law Enforcement

Organized Crime: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Law Enforcement

Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P. & Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: In the last two decades, organized crime has grown more complex, posing evolving challenges for U.S. federal law enforcement. These criminals have transformed their operations in ways that broaden their reach and make it harder for law enforcement to combat them. They have adopted more-networked structural models, internationalized their operations, and grown more tech savvy. They are a significant challenge to U.S. law enforcement. There still is no single agency charged with investigating organized crime in the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been designated the lead investigative agency for terrorism. Further, resources to tackle this issue are divided among many federal agencies. As such, Congress may exert its oversight authority regarding the federal coordination of organized crime investigations via the 2011 strategy. Policymakers may also debate the efficacy of current resources appropriated to combat organized crime.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
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FBI Directorship: History and Congressional Action

FBI Directorship: History and Congressional Action

Date: June 7, 2011
Creator: Chu, Vivian S. & Hogue, Henry B.
Description: This report first provides some legislative history surrounding the enactment of the 1968 and 1976 amendments to the appointment of the FBI Director, as well as information on the nominees to the FBI Directorship since 1972. The report then discusses precedent for lengthening the tenure of an office and the constitutionality of extending the tenure of the Directorship for the current incumbent, and addresses whether it would be necessary for Mr. Mueller to be appointed a second time.
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Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: June 11, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report looks at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shooting in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011 which notably wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) have influenced current legislation. This report concludes with discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past congressional interest.
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Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: June 9, 2011
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th Congress. The report concludes with salient issues that have generated significant congressional interest, including the 1994-2004 LCAFD ban.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: May 16, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report looks at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shooting in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011 which notably wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) have influenced current legislation. This report concludes with discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past congressional interest.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Mexico's Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence

Mexico's Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence

Date: September 7, 2011
Creator: Beittel, June S.
Description: This report provides background on drug trafficking in Mexico, identifies the major drug trafficking organizations, and analyzes the context, scope, and scale of the violence. It examines current trends of the violence, analyzes prospects for curbing violence in the future, and compares it with violence in Colombia.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Money Laundering: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1956 and Related Federal Criminal Law

Money Laundering: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1956 and Related Federal Criminal Law

Date: February 8, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This is an overview of the elements of federal criminal money laundering statutes and the sanctions imposed for their violation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department