WASHINGTON (AP) – The 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.

There was also a drop in non-terrorism wiretaps in 2008, for investigations into drugs, homicide, racketeering or other crimes. A report issued last month on those applications said 1,891 applications were made to federal and state judges in 2008. That’s a drop of 14 percent over the previous year.

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