One Nation, Under Surveillance

and according to Jeralyn Merritt, it’s mostly about drugs:

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has released its annual report on the use of federal and state wiretaps and electronic surveillance. It’s available here.

In 2010, wiretaps were up 34% from 2009. There were 1,207 federal wiretaps and 1,287 state wiretaps. On average, each wiretap intercepted the communications of 118 people. The average number of incriminating calls intercepted was 26%.

A whopping 84% of the wiretaps were for drug investigations. The average cost of a federal wiretap was $63,000. …

If you look at a 10-year span instead of at a single year, it’s even worse (or better, depending on how you feel about this sort of “law enforcement”):

[Jeralyn quoting from the annual report…]

The number of authorized intercept applications reported by year increased 168 percent between 2000 and 2010. The majority of the wiretaps have consistently been used for drug crime investigations, which accounted for 75 percent of intercepts in 2000 (894 applications) and 84 percent (2,678 applications) in 2010.

[… Resuming Jeralyn] 4,600 people were arrested based on the wiretap (and other electronic surveillance) orders. The conviction rate: 800, or 17%. That’s down from 29.6% from a year ago.

So… surveillance is more frequent, very expensive and less effective in obtaining convictions. Your tax dollars at work…

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  • MandT  On Wednesday July 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Some day middle finger will be shipped to Gittmo. I hear they have senior cells now.

    • Steve  On Wednesday July 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      MandT, I just received notice on one of the email lists that someone has attached a rider to the defense authorization bill that would keep Gitmo open forever and ever, amen. I’m off to try to find out more now…

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