The number of wiretaps authorized by federal and state courts dropped 9 percent last year to 1,358, reports the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. The tap total had increased 25 percent in 2001. However, the compilation does not include wiretaps authorized by a secret federal court that considers terrorism cases–taps that could be in the hundreds.
Among other disclosures, the report said that applications for wiretaps from federal authorities rose 2 percent but state applications fell 14 percent. The number of incriminating communications per tap increased 21 percent.
Some 96 percent of wiretaps authorized by states came from seven jurisdictions: New York, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Illinois.