US requests for secret spying warrants rose to nearly 2K in 2011, and not a single one was rejected

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reports today that the US Justice Department made 1,745 requests last year to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) for permission to wiretap electronic communications or search for physical evidence in counter-terrorism cases.

That's up from 1,579 requests in 2010. Every single one of the requests submitted in 2011 were accepted, though 30 were modified by the court.

All of this is noted in a new annual report to Congress. More context from the FAS blog post today by Steven Aftergood:

The new report says that the government filed 205 applications for business records (including “tangible things”) for foreign intelligence purposes last year, compared to 96 in the previous year.

But the number of “national security letters” (a type of administrative subpoena) declined last year. In 2011, the FBI requested 16,511 national security letters pertaining to 7,201 U.S. persons, the new report said, compared to the 2010 total of 24,287 letter requests concerning 14,212 U.S. persons.

(via Associated Press)

Photo: Vladi/Shutterstock


  1. Yay, they’re requesting warrants again! Rule of law is restored-ish!

    Remember the last time you heard an announcement about some dictator winning an “election” by 98.3 percent of his population (as reported by official state media), and you wondered how anyone in the world could seriously think it was not rigged? It’s too sad to even bother doing the math on this one.

  2. Everyone on BoingBoing who has an interest in the state of the secrecy in the government should be reading Steven Aftergood’s blog.  It’s really incredible, and he releases quite a few good reports from the Congressional Research Committee that are difficult to get.  He also covers Drones, classification, Drone war and other military enterprises, and everything having to do with government secrecy.  

    I cannot recommend it enough.

  3. I get the whole “You’re bugged” visual thing, but wouldn’t a bee drone be better than a beetle.  After all, drones mindlessly rubber stamp the warrants.  And drones patrol the skies “protecting” the citizenry.

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