Steve Aftergood of the Secrecy News blog aptly called the report ‘practically irrelevant’ and notes its importance “has receded in the wake of the far more substantial disclosures of the post-Snowden era,” but nonetheless, the Justice Department this week officially declared how many times it snooped on us all in 2013.
In its annual report to Congress on activity under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Act, (download PDF) the Justice Department said it made 1,655 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. None of those requests for electronic surveillance, physical search or both was turned down. That total is down about 11% over 2012.
The FBI issued 14,219 secret National Security Letters demanding customer records from businesses. Those covered 5,334 individuals. Requests and people affected were down 7% and 11% respectively.
The report also said it sought “business records” from the surveillance court 178 times, but as Aftergood noted in light of information disclosed in and since the Snowden era began nearly a year ago, “the bland term “business records” extends in principle to everyone’s telephone call records.”
SOURCE: OnTheBeat graphics using EPIC.org compilation from Federation of American Scientists document collection.