Secret wiretap warrants double since 9/11

Published 5 May 2008

A Justice Department report shows FISA warrants for counterterrorism, espionage cases up

The number of secret warrants used in counterterrorism and espionage cases have more than doubled since the terror attacks of 9/11, according to an annual Justice Department report. ABC News reports that for 2007, the department confirms that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secret court that approves such warrants, approved 2,370 requests, compared to 1012 in 2000. The report is required under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the FBI to conduct court-approved secret domestic searches and wiretapping after presenting applications to the FISC for warrants. In conjunction with the increased submissions made to the FISC, the Justice Department is also setting up a new Office of Intelligence to handle the increased FISA work. The Office of Intelligence will be part of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

According to the Justice Department, the FISC made substantive modifications to the government’s proposed orders in eighty-six of those applications. The FISC completely denied three applications and denied one application in part, filed by the government during calendar year 2007.