Electronic Surveillance

RCED-95-54R: Published: Nov 15, 1994. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) and the Customs Service's use of electronic surveillance equipment in drug interdiction. GAO noted that: (1) since 1980, DOJ and Customs have significantly decreased their use of electronic surveillance equipment on general aviation aircraft; (2) between January 1991 and December 1993, DOJ and the Customs Service installed electronic surveillance devices on 85 general aviation aircraft; (3) DOJ and Customs installed 41 devices under court orders, 17 devices with the consent of the aircraft owners, and 27 devices on government-controlled aircraft; (4) allegations that the technicians who installed the surveillance devices were not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could not be substantiated; (5) Customs provided information that showed that all seven of its technicians held at least two different types of FAA repairman certificates; and (6) the law enforcement agencies that were involved in the surveillance operations seized and later either sold, transferred, used, or returned the aircraft on which the surveillance devices were installed.

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