Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2005
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
OPA
(202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RELEASES NEW NUMBERS ON SECTION 213 OF THE PATRIOT ACT


WASHINGTON, DC - For more than three years, the USA PATRIOT Act has served as an invaluable tool for law enforcement and intelligence communities in the war on terror. According to a recent survey of all United States Attorneys’ offices, covering the period between April 1, 2003 and January 31, 2005, section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act was used 108 times by the Justice Department to execute court-approved delayed-notification search warrants.

The Department estimates that court approved delayed notification warrants represent less than 0.2% of the search warrants utilized by law enforcement. Delayed notification search warrants are used in a wide spectrum of criminal investigations, including those involving terrorism and drugs.

In May 2003, the Justice Department released its initial data on the use of delayed-notification search warrants under section 213, covering the period between October 26, 2001 and April 1, 2003, at which time the Department indicated section 213 had been used 47 times. In total, the government has sought delayed-notification search warrants an aggregate total of 155 times under section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The information released today is derived from a recent survey, covering the period between April 1, 2003 and January 31, 2005. According to the survey:

Nationwide, section 213 was only used 108 times over a 22-month period.

The authority to delay notice pursuant to section 213 was exercised in fewer than half of the federal judicial districts across the country.

The Justice Department has asked the courts to find reasonable necessity for seizure in connection with a delayed-notification search warrant only 45 times.

In every case where the Justice Department has sought to obtain a delayed-notification search warrant, it has obtained court approval. There were no cases where a court found that the Department did not meet the standard for obtaining a delayed-notification search warrant.

BACKGROUND ON SECTION 213:

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. The USA PATRIOT Act has since been an important part of the Department’s effort to thwart crime and prevent terrorism.

Law enforcement officials have used delayed-notice search warrants for decades. Like any other search warrant, delayed-notification warrants under section 213 may only be issued after showing probable cause and obtaining the express approval of a judge.

Law enforcement officials seeking a judge’s approval for a delayed-notification warrant under section 213 must make an additional showing of reasonable cause that contemporaneous notice of a warrant would result in one of the following defined circumstances: endangerment of the life or physical safety of an individual; flight from a prosecution; the tampering or destruction of evidence; intimidation of potential witnesses; or that it would seriously jeopardize an investigation or unduly delay a trial.

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