8 May 1999

Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 12:52:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
To: politech@vorlon.mit.edu
Subject: FC: Stewart Baker replies to 1998 wiretap figures

[Perhaps. But given that all you have to do to get a wiretap is fill in
some blanks on a form, I can't imagine that the barrier is as high as Stu
would have us believe. Or maybe the Justice Departemnt attorneys are very
good at this type of bureaucratic pole-vaulting. --Declan]

--------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 08:28:09 -0400
From: "Baker, Stewart" <SBaker@steptoe.com>
To: "'declan@well.com'" <declan@well.com>, politech@vorlon.mit.edu
Cc: "Albertazzie, Sally" <SAlbertazzie@steptoe.com>
Subject: RE: US government releases 1998 wiretap figures 


I see you've circulated  the latest wiretap stats with the usual lifted
eyebrow about how many taps have been approved and how few denied.  For
years, of course, the government has insisted that few taps are denied
because the Justice Department exercises such strict control over what taps
it requests, especially for foreign intelligence.  That argument has been
largely laughed off or ignored by folks with your views.

But now I think it would only be fair for you to note that we now have
(unfortunate) confirmation that the Justice Department does indeed erect a
high barrier to such taps.  Despite very troubling information suggesting
that DOE's Wen Ho Lee was a spy for China, the Justice Department refused to
take that evidence to the FISA court or to authorize a search of his

We may have paid a very high price for the Department's vigilance in
protecting Lee's rights and independently scrutinizing wiretap applications.
In that context, your lifted eyebrow approach to the small number of denials
is at best onesided.

Stewart Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: Declan McCullagh [mailto:declan@well.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 1999 12:27 AM
To: politech@vorlon.mit.edu
Subject: FC: US government releases 1998 wiretap figures 

[The figures are especially interesting if you take into account the mean
number of conversations intercepted per wiretap -- thousands, if I recall
properly. We ran the 1997 numbers in Time Magazine; you can probably find
them in the Notebook archives at time.com/magazine. --Declan]

>Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 22:57:40 -0400
>To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
>From: John Young <jya@pipeline.com>
>Subject: Wiretap 98
>The US 1998 Wiretap Report is available:
>   http://jya.com/wiretap98.htm  (31K)
>Total federal and state is up to 1,329 from 1,186 in 1997. Two 
>requests were denied. That makes five denials in the last ten 
>years compared to 11,000 authorizations.

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