The United States Attorney General is
|“||[t]he chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Generally acting through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Attorney General has the lead responsibility for criminal investigations of terrorist acts or terrorist threats by individuals or groups inside the United States or directed at U.S. citizens or institutions abroad, as well as for coordinating activities of the other members of the law enforcement community to detect, prevent,and disrupt terrorist attacks against the United States.||”|
The Attorney General is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government. The Attorney General serves as a member of the President's Cabinet.
The Attorney General leads the Department of Justice, which also includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The Attorney General is nominated by the President and takes office after confirmation by the U.S. Senate. He or she serves at the pleasure of the President and can be removed by the President at any time; the Attorney General is also subject to impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors."
The office of Attorney General was established by Congress by the Judiciary Act of 1789. The original duties of the Attorney General were "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments." Only in 1870 was the Department of Justice established to support the Attorney General in the discharge of his responsibilities.
The Attorney General has lead responsibility for criminal investigations of terrorist acts or terrorist threats by individuals or groups inside the United States, or directed at United States citizens or institutions abroad, as well as for related intelligence collection activities within the United States. Following a terrorist threat or an actual incident that falls within the criminal jurisdiction of the United States, the Attorney General identifies the perpetrators and brings them to justice.
- See 28 U.S.C. §503.
- FEMA Glossary (full-text).
- Judiciary Act of 1789, §35.
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