The number of secret court-authorized &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/01/28/42649.html ' target=_blank>wiretaps across the country surged by 19 percent last year, records show. As law enforcement authorities scurried to keep apace of improving technology favored by criminals, not a single application was denied.
State and federal judges approved 1,710 applications for wiretaps of wire, oral or electronic communications last year, and four states New York, California, New Jersey and Florida accounted for three out of every four surveillance orders, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That agency is required to collect the figures and report them to Congress.
The numbers, released Thursday, do not include court orders for terror-related investigations under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, which reached a record 1,754 warrants last year, according to the Justice Department.
In non-terrorist criminal investigations, federally-approved wiretaps increased 26 percent in a year, to 730 applications, while state judges approved 980 wiretaps, an increase of 13 percent.