The US Justice Department said Friday that the number of applications approved for eavesdropping on terrorism suspects declined in 2008, the first annual drop since the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The department told Congress that the secret court that considers the applications approved 2,083 of them in 2008. That's down almost 300 from the previous year.
In 2001, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court approved just under 1,000 applications, and the number steadily climbed over the next six years.
The applications for electronic surveillance and physical searches are almost always approved - only one was denied last year and two others were modified.