A record number of searches and wiretap orders granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2002 underscores a growing trend of reliance on the secret court in government investigations, privacy advocates say.

The number of FISA orders jumped more than 30 percent to 1,228 last year, compared to 934 the year before. The FBI uses the warrants in investigations of suspected terrorists and spies to eavesdrop on communications and conduct physical searches.

Since FISA’s inception in 1978, the court has approved every FBI application it has received, despite disclosing last year in a report that the agency had misled FISA judges in 75 cases.

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