Authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Override International Law in Extraterritorial Law Enforcement Activities

Headnotes: 

At the direction of the President or the Attorney General, the FBI may use its statutory authority to investigate and arrest individuals for violating United States law, even if the FBI’s actions contravene customary international law.

The President, acting through the Attorney General, has the inherent constitutional authority to deploy the FBI to investigate and arrest individuals for violating United States law, even if those actions contravene customary international law.

Extraterritorial law enforcement activities that are authorized by domestic law are not barred even if they contravene unexecuted treaties or treaty provisions, such as Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.

An arrest that is inconsistent with international or foreign law does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Updated July 9, 2014