According to a Justice Department memo seen by Reuters, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, tasked with approving or denying electronic spying requests for foreign intelligence purposes, did not deny any requests made by the government in 2015.
1,457 requests made in 2015
Reuters writes that the 1,457 requests made last year by the NSA and FBI were all approved. The prior year, the court similarly approved all 1,379 requests made. The memo did reportedly show an marked increase in requests that were modified by the court before approval: 80 applications were changed, as opposed to 19 in 2014.
The FBI also reportedly sent 48,642 national security letters in 2015. NSLs are controversial demands for information that are accompanied by gag orders preventing the recipient from revealing the request.
While not a new trend, the numbers will again give ammunition to those claiming the courts, while ostensibly meant to provide oversight of spying programs, are instead providing the government with a blank check.