Bill of Rights Institute eLesson: Who Checks the FBI?

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, President Donald J. Trump dismissed FBI director James Comey, bringing the issue of checks and balances once again into the spotlight. The FBI operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice as the primary federal law enforcement agency. The work of the Bureau has often brought it into conflict with all of the branches of the United States government, as well as its people, as all work in concert to balance the nation’s liberties with its security. 


This lesson explores the checks and balances on the FBI in the federal government, and the tension between liberty and security. Students will examine select events in FBI history and their constitutionality, examining whether the FBI’s powers are balanced in the best interest of the American people.