FBI, Carriers Stumble On Phone Intercept Invoice Issues
Absolutely incredible that the U.S.Federal Bureau of Investigation can't seem to figure out how to pay some of its phone bills. Or that carriers have their invoicing issues with the Feds, as well.
Let me be clear. I am not talking here about ordinary phone invoices, but the way the FBI pays phone companies for providing Internet and phone lines to listen in on potential terrorists.
Anaudit released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General's Office found that in one case, an unnamed FBI field office received a $66,000 bill from a carrier, for an overdue surveillance work payment.
The problems were not just attributable to the FBI. In fact, it seems that some of the issues related to multiple billings for individual surveillance warrants. According to the report audit, Cox Communications may have been at fault on that one.
But if you think the FBI is without blame here, think again.
Wired.com's Ryan Singel notes that according to the report, the U.S. Department of Jusitice Inspector General's office "found that the FBI was often confused about whether to use confidential case funds or general HQ money to pay the telecoms, and were even so confused that when telecoms issued refunds, they sometimes sent the refunds back to the carriers."
I wonder how many conversations involving terrorists were not intercepted because of these slip-ups?
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