The expansion would seek to uncover heretofore-unknown connections and otherwise anticipate and disrupt threats before they manifest. With suspected jihadists, the FBI often employs undercover agents and informants who claim to be members of a foreign terrorist organization.
They engage individuals they feel have radical ideas and encourage them to take prosecutable actions.
FBI agents posed as members of a fictional right-wing extremist group and collected information on real like-minded groups by attending conventions and other gatherings as well as reporting on private conversations. It’s hard to feel sorry for these individuals, but the result—that individuals not guilty of any crime found it harder to exercise freedom of assembly and speech—should trouble everyone.
The counterterrorism microscope would also reveal numerous minor but prosecutable offenses not related to terrorism.
According to the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, in 2016, 80 percent of ISIS-related prosecutions involved a material support charge.
And when the material support case proves too challenging, suspected jihadists are often convicted of lesser charges to get them off the streets.
For example, Virginia allows its residents to openly carry a firearm.
However, the law stipulates that a non-Virginian from a state where open carry is illegal cannot carry a firearm— a seemingly obscure technicality.
A lot of what the United States does against ISIS happens abroad, but at home, law enforcement is very aggressive.
First, any suspect would be monitored and there would often be some sort of initial intervention: A confidential government informant might befriend the suspect and gather evidence, for example.