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FBI Wiretap Survey Case

In 1992, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began its efforts to pass "Digital Telephony" legislation mandating that the nation's telecommunications infrastructure be re-designed to faciliatate electronic surveillance. The Electronic Privacy Information Center attempted, through several FOIA requests, to obtain FBI documentation demonstrating a need for the proposed legislation.

In Congressional testimony in 1994, FBI Director Louis Freeh revealed that the FBI had conducted an "informal survey" that documented problems encountered in executing electronic surveillance warrants. EPIC immediately requested the disclosure of the survey. After EPIC filed suit to comply disclosure, the Bureau sought to "stay" the case for five years. This request was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Richey, but the court ultimately upheld the FBI's refusal to release the documents in their entirety. A heavily censored version of the survey was released.

Relevant Documents

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