by Andrew P. Napolitano
In 2019, agents of the federal and state governments persuaded judges to issue 99% of all requested intercepts. An intercept is any type of government surveillance — telephone, text message, email, even in-person. These are intercepts that theoretically are based on probable cause of crime, as is required by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
The 2019 numbers — which the government released as we were all watching the end of the presidential election campaign — are staggering. The feds, and local and state police in America engaged in 27,431,687 intercepts on 777,840 people. They arrested 17,101 people from among those intercepted and obtained convictions on the basis of evidence obtained via the intercepts on 5,304. That is a conviction rate of 4% of all people spied upon by law enforcement in the United States.
Here is the backstory.