Bush Scandals List

300. FBI not paying phone bills for wiretaps

On January 10, 2008, the Justice Department released an Inspector General’s report showing that the FBI was incredibly sloppy in paying its bills on wiretaps. In a sampling of 990 payments from 5 field offices, over half were not paid on time. The study went on to note, “We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence including an instance where delivery of intercept information required by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order was halted due to untimely payment.” One field office was behind $66,000 in its payments to a single carrier. The reason for this is that the FBI has no clear accounting system to process, track, and make payments. This allowed one FBI employee to steal $25,000 in such funds. She pled guilty in June 2006. This case raises two issues. The first is how much to trust an organization often engaged in secret and intrusive investigations that can’t even pay its phone bills. The second is just how “patriotic” are the telecoms for whom immunity is being sought with regard to the NSA warrantless wiretapping program when they are willing to cut off a wiretap for nonpayment of service.

    One Response to “300. FBI not paying phone bills for wiretaps”

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