Government: The New Line on Wiretapping

Although wiretapping goes back to the early days of the telegraph, Congress did not get around to giving law-enforcement officials statutory authority to engage in such snooping until last year. The Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 expressly legalized electronic eavesdropping for the first time in investigations of such serious crimes as treason, robbery and murder—provided the authorities first obtain a court warrant. During his presidential campaign, Richard Nixon said that he would take full advantage of the new law—a promise that raised fears of a massive invasion of privacy.

To calm those...

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