Nanny State

Listen Up!

Federal wiretapping reaches all-time high.


Driven by an increase in federal narcotics investigations, the Clinton administration hit a record in federal wiretapping for the second year in a row, with 554 new taps authorized in 1994–a 23 percent increase over the previous year's record 450. State wiretaps also hit a 15-year high with 600. Seventy-six percent of total wiretap orders were for drug investigations, and only 17 percent of the conversations recorded produced any evidence prosecutors thought incriminating. The average cost for each federal wiretap is $66,783, although one federal tap in Indiana cost $839,421.