On the Wire

There’s something worse than “printing the myth”: printing government press releases and calling that “journalism.”

In those cases where folks in today’s news media do get their watchdog legs underneath them and yet their questions go unanswered, we citizens need be mightily concerned.

“The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment,” the Washington Post reported yesterday.

What did they refuse to comment on?

Wiretap stats.

Spokespeople for the Obama Administration have been repeating incessantly that we ought not worry about them grabbing all our phone and Internet and financial information and communications. After all, they tell us, to actually delve into that mountain of metadata to gaze at your personal stuff, the Feds have to lug a rubber stamp across town to a secret court to get approval.

But, lo and behold: the Administrative Office of the United States Court released figures on the number of federal wiretaps in criminal investigations, showing that wiretaps had spiked up 71 percent in 2012. Such wiretaps by state and local police increased only 5 percent.

The average number of federal wiretaps between 1997 and 2009 were 550. But in 2010 the number soared to 1,207. The number went down to 792 the next year and then shot back up to 1,354 last year — a 147 percent increase over the 1997-2009 period.

The report further notes that “A single wiretap can sweep up thousands of communications.” For instance, one wiretap in Los Angeles intercepted more than 185,000 calls — nine of every ten deemed non-incriminating.

Why worry about governments having too much power? Governments have been known to use the power.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jul
    2
    10:08
    AM
    Bill Smithem

    Perhaps even more interesting to see would be the stats on the increased number of solved crimes to go along with the 71% increase in wiretaps. After all, that IS why they claim they need to pry into the intimate details of everyone’s lives, isn’t it?
    Somehow I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

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