US courts didn't reject a single wiretap request in 2015, says report

The number of wiretaps rocketed by 17 percent on the year prior.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

(Image: file photo)

The number of wiretaps authorized by the courts in 2015 rocketed compared to the year before, says a new report.

According to the annual wiretap report released on Thursday, which outlines how many real-time intercept requests were submitted by state and federal law enforcement agencies, the courts allowed 4,148 wiretaps during the last calendar year, up by 17 percent on the year-ago period.

Most were issued by state courts. The majority of wiretaps were authorized in California, which accounted for 41 percent of all applications.

New York came in second with 17 percent of wiretaps for the year.

But not a single wiretap request was rejected during 2015, the report showed.

The report said that the majority of wiretaps were originally authorized for a 30-day period, but almost 80 percent were extended for a period of time. But it also noted that one Illinois-based wiretap was extended eight times for a 263-day bribery case, and another wiretap that ended last year came after 30 separate extensions for a three-year racketeering investigation.

Congress had to receive the annual report by June 30, according to a spokesperson for the US Courts.

The report doesn't take into account classified national security requests, which typically involve terrorism, submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which were already reported earlier this year.

The government received 1,457 requests from the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to intercept phone calls and emails last year, but too did not reject a single order.

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