Friday, January 11, 2008

The FBI's Prodigious Ineptitude & Other Snarks

If I were snark hunting, I think I might have stumbled upon the national breeding ground and sanctuary.

Its location is in an Ars Technical piece, Unpaid bills lead phone companies to hang up on FBI wiretaps, by Ryan Paul.

According to a recent report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), it seems that telephone companies have terminated FBI wiretaps and FBI surveillance lines because of chronically unpaid bills.

The OIG summary says 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."

The FBI says that this did not significantly affect any of the cases. No doubt they were what the intelligence community calls "slam-dunks."

Here's a particularly fetching snark:

During the recent controversy over whether or not the phone companies should be granted retroactive immunity for their involvement in potentially illegal government surveillance, the Bush administration insisted that phone companies should not be punished for their patriotic cooperation in antiterrorism activities. Apparently that patriotism only lasts as long as the government can afford to foot the bill.

Ah, but don't stop here, dear reader. There be snark signs the likes of which god has not seen throughout this article.

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