Secrecy News, part of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, takes a look at U.S. domestic intelligence-gathering and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:
By every available measure, the level of domestic intelligence surveillance activity in 2010 increased from the year before, according to a new Justice Department report to Congress on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“During calendar year 2010, the Government made 1,579 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (hereinafter ‘FISC’) for authority to conduct electronic surveillance and/or physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes,” according to the new report (pdf). This compares to a reported 1,376 applications in 2009. (In 2008, however, the reported figure — 2,082 — was quite a bit higher.)
And in 2010, the FBI made 24,287 “national security letter” requests for information pertaining to 14,212 different U.S. persons, a substantial increase from the 2009 level of 14,788 NSL requests concerning 6,114 U.S. persons. (In 2008, the number of NSL requests was 24,744, pertaining to 7,225 persons.)