United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jan 29, 2023
Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications
The Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, Associate Attorney General,1
or any Assistant Attorney General, any acting Assistant Attorney General, or any Deputy Assistant Attorney General or acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division or National Security Division specially designated by the Attorney General, may authorize an application to a Federal judge of competent jurisdiction for, and such judge may grant in conformity with section 2518 of this chapter an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire or oral communications by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a Federal agency having responsibility for the investigation of the offense as to which the application is made, when such interception may provide or has provided evidence of—
1See 1984 Amendment note below.
any offense punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year under sections 2122 and 2274 through 2277 of title 42 of the United States Code (relating to the enforcement of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954), section 2284 of title 42 of the United States Code (relating to sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel), or under the following chapters of this title: chapter 10 (relating to biological weapons), chapter 37 (relating to espionage), chapter 55 (relating to kidnapping), chapter 90 (relating to protection of trade secrets), chapter 105 (relating to sabotage), chapter 115 (relating to treason), chapter 102 (relating to riots), chapter 65 (relating to malicious mischief), chapter 111 (relating to destruction of vessels), or chapter 81 (relating to piracy);
a violation of section 186 or section 501(c) of title 29, United States Code (dealing with restrictions on payments and loans to labor organizations), or any offense which involves murder, kidnapping, robbery, or extortion, and which is punishable under this title;
any offense which is punishable under the following sections of this title: section 37 (relating to violence at international airports), section 43 (relating to animal enterprise terrorism), section 81 (arson within special maritime and territorial jurisdiction), section 201 (bribery of public officials and witnesses), section 215 (relating to bribery of bank officials), section 224 (bribery in sporting contests), subsection (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), or (i) of section 844 (unlawful use of explosives), section 1032 (relating to concealment of assets), section 1084 (transmission of wagering information), section 751 (relating to escape), section 832 (relating to nuclear and weapons of mass destruction threats), section 842 (relating to explosive materials), section 930 (relating to possession of weapons in Federal facilities), section 1014 (relating to loans and credit applications generally; renewals and discounts), section 1114 (relating to officers and employees of the United States), section 1116 (relating to protection of foreign officials), sections 1503, 1512, and 1513 (influencing or injuring an officer, juror, or witness generally), section 1510 (obstruction of criminal investigations), section 1511 (obstruction of State or local law enforcement), section 1581 (peonage), section 1582 (vessels for slave trade), section 1583 (enticement into slavery), section 1584 (involuntary servitude), section 1585 (seizure, detention, transportation or sale of slaves), section 1586 (service on vessels in slave trade), section 1587 (possession of slaves aboard vessel), section 1588 (transportation of slaves from United States), section 1589 (forced labor), section 1590 (trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor), section 1591 (sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion), section 1592 (unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of trafficking, peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor), section 1751 (Presidential and Presidential staff assassination, kidnapping, and assault), section 1951 (interference with commerce by threats or violence), section 1952 (interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises), section 1958 (relating to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire), section 1959 (relating to violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity), section 1954 (offer, acceptance, or solicitation to influence operations of employee benefit plan), section 1955 (prohibition of business enterprises of gambling), section 1956 (laundering of monetary instruments), section 1957 (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity), section 659 (theft from interstate shipment), section 664 (embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), section 1343 (fraud by wire, radio, or television), section 1344 (relating to bank fraud), section 1992 (relating to terrorist attacks against mass transportation), sections 2251 and 2252 (sexual exploitation of children), section 2251A (selling or buying of children), section 2252A (relating to material constituting or containing child pornography), section 1466A (relating to child obscenity), section 2260 (production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States), sections 2421, 2422, 2423, and 2425 (relating to transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes), sections 2312, 2313, 2314, and 2315 (interstate transportation of stolen property), section 2321 (relating to trafficking in certain motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts), section 2340A (relating to torture), section 1203 (relating to hostage taking), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 3146 (relating to penalty for failure to appear), section 3521(b)(3) (relating to witness relocation and assistance), section 32 (relating to destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities), section 38 (relating to aircraft parts fraud), section 1963 (violations with respect to racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations), section 115 (relating to threatening or retaliating against a Federal official), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), a felony violation of section 1030 (relating to computer fraud and abuse), section 351 (violations with respect to congressional, Cabinet, or Supreme Court assassinations, kidnapping, and assault), section 831 (relating to prohibited transactions involving nuclear materials), section 33 (relating to destruction of motor vehicles or motor vehicle facilities), section 175 (relating to biological weapons), section 175c (relating to variola virus), section 956 (conspiracy to harm persons or property overseas), a felony violation of section 1028 (relating to production of false identification documentation), section 1425 (relating to the procurement of citizenship or nationalization unlawfully), section 1426 (relating to the reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers), section 1427 (relating to the sale of naturalization or citizenship papers), section 1541 (relating to passport issuance without authority), section 1542 (relating to false statements in passport applications), section 1543 (relating to forgery or false use of passports), section 1544 (relating to misuse of passports), section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents), or section 555 (relating to construction or use of international border tunnels);
any offense involving counterfeiting punishable under section 471, 472, or 473 of this title;
any offense involving fraud connected with a case under title 11 or the manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in narcotic drugs, marihuana, or other dangerous drugs, punishable under any law of the United States;
any offense including extortionate credit transactions under sections 892, 893, or 894 of this title;
any felony violation of sections 2511 and 2512 (relating to interception and disclosure of certain communications and to certain intercepting devices) of this title;
any felony violation of chapter 71 (relating to obscenity) of this title;
any violation of section 60123(b) (relating to destruction of a natural gas pipeline), section 46502 (relating to aircraft piracy), the second sentence of section 46504 (relating to assault on a flight crew with dangerous weapon), or section 46505(b)(3) or (c) (relating to explosive or incendiary devices, or endangerment of human life, by means of weapons on aircraft) of title 49;
any criminal violation of section 2778 of title 22 (relating to the Arms Export Control Act);
the location of any fugitive from justice from an offense described in this section;
a violation of section 274, 277, or 278 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (
any felony violation of section 922, 924, 932, or 933 of title 18, United States Code (relating to firearms);
any violation of section 5861 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to firearms);
a felony violation of section 1028 (relating to production of false identification documents), section 1542 (relating to false statements in passport applications), section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents), section 1028A (relating to aggravated identity theft) of this title or a violation of section 274, 277, or 278 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (relating to the smuggling of aliens); or 2
2So in original. The word “or” probably should not appear.
any criminal violation of section 229 (relating to chemical weapons) or section 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2332d, 2332f, 2332g, 2332h 3
2339, 2339A, 2339B, 2339C, or 2339D of this title (relating to terrorism);
3So in original. Probably should be followed by a comma.
any criminal violation of section 1 (relating to illegal restraints of trade or commerce), 2 (relating to illegal monopolizing of trade or commerce), or 3 (relating to illegal restraints of trade or commerce in territories or the District of Columbia) of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. 1, 2, 3);
any violation of section 670 (relating to theft of medical products);
any violation of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018; or
any conspiracy to commit any offense described in any subparagraph of this paragraph.
The principal prosecuting attorney of any State, or the principal prosecuting attorney of any political subdivision thereof, if such attorney is authorized by a statute of that State to make application to a State court judge of competent jurisdiction for an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, may apply to such judge for, and such judge may grant in conformity with section 2518 of this chapter and with the applicable State statute an order authorizing, or approving the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications by investigative or law enforcement officers having responsibility for the investigation of the offense as to which the application is made, when such interception may provide or has provided evidence of the commission of the offense of murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, child pornography production, prostitution, gambling, robbery, bribery, extortion, or dealing in narcotic drugs, marihuana or other dangerous drugs, or other crime dangerous to life, limb, or property, and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, designated in any applicable State statute authorizing such interception, or any conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses.
Any attorney for the Government (as such term is defined for the purposes of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure) may authorize an application to a Federal judge of competent jurisdiction for, and such judge may grant, in conformity with section 2518 of this title, an order authorizing or approving the interception of electronic communications by an investigative or law enforcement officer having responsibility for the investigation of the offense as to which the application is made, when such interception may provide or has provided evidence of any Federal felony.
(Added Pub. L. 90–351, title III, § 802,
June 19, 1968, 82 Stat. 216; amended Pub. L. 91–452, title VIII, § 810, title IX, § 902(a), title XI, § 1103, Oct. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 940, 947, 959; Pub. L. 91–644, title IV, § 16, Jan. 2, 1971, 84 Stat. 1891; Pub. L. 95–598, title III, § 314(h), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2677; Pub. L. 97–285, §§ 2(e), 4(e), Oct. 6, 1982, 96 Stat. 1220, 1221; Pub. L. 98–292, § 8, May 21, 1984, 98 Stat. 206; Pub. L. 98–473, title II, § 1203(c), Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2152; Pub. L. 99–508, title I, §§ 101(c)(1)(A), 104, 105, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1851, 1855; Pub. L. 99–570, title I, § 1365(c), Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3207–35; Pub. L. 100–690, title VI, § 6461, title VII, §§ 7036, 7053(d), 7525, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4374, 4399, 4402, 4502; Pub. L. 101–298, § 3(b), May 22, 1990, 104 Stat. 203; Pub. L. 101–647, title XXV, § 2531, title XXXV, § 3568, Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4879, 4928; Pub. L. 103–272, § 5(e)(11), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1374; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §§ 330011(c)(1), (q)(1), (r), 330021(1), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2144, 2145, 2150; Pub. L. 103–414, title II, § 208, Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4292; Pub. L. 103–429, § 7(a)(4)(A), Oct. 31, 1994, 108 Stat. 4389; Pub. L. 104–132, title IV, § 434, Apr. 24, 1996, 110 Stat. 1274; Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title II, § 201, Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–564; Pub. L. 104–287, § 6(a)(2), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3398; Pub. L. 104–294, title I, § 102, title VI, § 601(d), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3491, 3499; Pub. L. 105–318, § 6(b), Oct. 30, 1998, 112 Stat. 3011; Pub. L. 106–181, title V, § 506(c)(2)(B), Apr. 5, 2000, 114 Stat. 139; Pub. L. 107–56, title II, §§ 201, 202, Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 278; Pub. L. 107–197, title III, § 301(a), June 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 728; Pub. L. 107–273, div. B, title IV, §§ 4002(c)(1), 4005(a)(1), Nov. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 1808, 1812; Pub. L. 108–21, title II, § 201, Apr. 30, 2003, 117 Stat. 659; Pub. L. 108–458, title VI, § 6907, Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3774; Pub. L. 109–162, title XI, § 1171(b), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 3123; Pub. L. 109–177, title I, §§ 110(b)(3)(C), 113, title V, § 506(a)(6), Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 208, 209, 248; Pub. L. 112–127, § 4, June 5, 2012, 126 Stat. 371; Pub. L. 112–186, § 5, Oct. 5, 2012, 126 Stat. 1429; Pub. L. 114–22, title I, § 106, May 29, 2015, 129 Stat. 238; Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title XVII, § 1761(f), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2228; Pub. L. 115–392, § 13, Dec. 21, 2018, 132 Stat. 5256; Pub. L. 117–159, div. A, title II, § 12004(a)(2), June 25, 2022, 136 Stat. 1328.)
cite as: 18 USC 2516