Wiretap Report 1997   [open pdf - 556KB]

"The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 requires the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) to report to Congress the number and nature of federal and state applications for orders authorizing or approving the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications. The statute requires that specific information be provided to the AO, including the offense(s) under investigation, the location of the intercept, the cost of the surveillance, and the number of arrests, trials, and convictions that directly result from the surveillance. This report covers intercepts concluded between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 1997, and provides supplementary information on arrests and convictions resulting from intercepts concluded in prior years. From 1996 to 1997, the total number of intercepts authorized by federal and state courts increased 3 percent to 1,186, primarily due to growth in applications involving the surveillance of narcotics operations (up 6 percent). Following a 9 percent increase in 1996, the number of applications for orders by federal authorities declined slightly by 2 percent in 1997. The number of applications by state prosecuting officials increased 9 percent over last year. The number of federal intercept applications authorized has grown substantially over the last 10 years, increasing 141 percent from 1987 to 1997. In contrast, state applications have increased 41 percent since 1987. The number of intercepts employed in drug-related investigations also has undergone significant growth. Drug offenders were targeted in 870 of the interceptions concluded in 1997, compared to 379 in 1987, a 130% increase."

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