“Number of federal wiretaps rose 71 percent in 2012”

July 1, 2013

The Washington Post on June 28, 2013 released the following:

By Peter Finn

“The number of wiretaps secured in federal criminal investigations jumped 71 percent in 2012 over the previous year, according to newly released figures.

Federal courts authorized 1,354 interception orders for wire, oral and electronic communications, up from 792 the previous year, according to the figures, released Friday by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. There was a 5 percent increase in state and local use of wiretaps in the same period.

The office collects the figures from federal and local jurisdictions at the request of Congress, but does not interpret the statistics. There is no explanation of why the federal figures increased so much, and it is generally out of line with the number of wiretaps between 1997 and 2009, which averaged 550 annually. A large number of wiretaps was also reported in 2010, when 1,207 were secured.

“This is just one more piece of evidence demonstrating the need for a full, informed public debate about the scope, breadth, and pervasiveness of government surveillance in this country,” Mark Rumold, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in an e-mail. “We have a secret surveillance program churning in the background, sweeping in everyone’s communications, and, at the same time, in the shadows (and frequently under seal), law enforcement is constantly expanding its use and reliance on surveillance in traditional criminal investigations.”

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.

A single wiretap can sweep up thousands of communications. One 30-day local wiretap in California, for instance, generated 185,268 cellular telephone interceptions, of which 12 percent were incriminating, according to the report.

The vast majority of the wiretaps in both federal and state cases were obtained as part of drug investigations, and they overwhelmingly were directed at cellphones, according to the report. Only 14 court orders were for personal residences.

Most jurisdictions limit the period of surveillance to 30 days, but extensions can be obtained. In one case, a narcotics investigation in Queens, the wiretap continued for 580 days. The longest federal wiretap was also a drug case and lasted 180 days in the Western District of Washington state, which includes Seattle.

There were 25 authorized federal wiretaps in the District in 2012, 18 in Virginia and 12 in Maryland. Local authorities in Maryland reported 50 wiretap orders issued by state judges, including 34 in Harford County. Virginia’s attorney general reported nine orders.

The amount of encryption being encountered by law enforcement authorities is also increasing, and for the first time, “jurisdictions have reported that encryption prevented officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications,” the report noted.

Officials said 3,743 people were arrested as a result of the interceptions in 2012, and so far 455 have been convicted.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Team Will Target Human Trafficking in Kansas, Missouri

July 26, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 25, 2011 released the following:

“KANSAS CITY, KS—A new team of federal prosecutors and investigators will target human trafficking in Kansas and Missouri, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced today.

Kansas and Missouri have been chosen to participate in a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to streamline federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses. As part of the initiative, a specialized Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team, known as an ACTeam, will be formed in Kansas and Missouri. The ACTeam will focus on developing federal criminal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions to vindicate the rights of human trafficking victims, bring traffickers to justice, and dismantle human trafficking networks.

“Freedom from slavery is every person’s most basic human right,” Grissom said. “The anti-trafficking team will give us the tools we need to fight this cruel, despicable practice wherever we find it.”

The departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today that Phase I Pilot ACTeams would be housed at Kansas City, Mo.; Atlanta, Ga.; El Paso, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; Los Angeles; and Miami under the leadership of the U.S. Attorneys and the highest-ranking federal investigative agents from the FBI, ICE, and Department of Labor field offices in each region. The announcement follows the conclusion of a competitive, interagency selection process led by the Federal Enforcement Working Group, a collaboration of the Justice Department’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security’s ICE Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit, and the Dept. Of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Inspector General.

On Feb. 1, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis jointly announced the launch of the ACTeam Initiative and the competitive interagency selection process.

Each ACTeam, which includes federal prosecutors and federal agents from multiple federal enforcement agencies, will implement a strategic action plan to combat identified human trafficking threats.

The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Labor have each launched significant initiatives to combat human trafficking as part of collaborations among federal, state, local, and international law enforcement, including governmental and non-governmental partners.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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