FBI Finds Convenient Scapegoat For Forgotten National Security Letters: Crappy Computer System

from the playing-the-blame-game dept

It appears the FBI has finally come up with an explanation for its failure to report on all the national security letters they used for snooping purposes: it's that old, crappy computer system that has been causing so much trouble for the FBI over the past few years. Turns out that, since that system was effectively useless, the FBI was either tracking the use of NSLs via (no, seriously) 3x5 index cards or entering them into a totally separate database. This database was supposedly connected to nothing, and each use of an NSL had to be entered manually using a straining process of filling out a dozen fields. Apparently, filling out a dozen fields in a special database was too strenuous (especially when it came to violating fundamental rights of citizens of the country), so the NSLs weren't well recorded -- and therefore, the use of them was underreported to Congress. We're almost surprised they didn't blame a computer virus while they were at it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 2:58pm

    Dude you've got to be on the BOUNCE to catch those terrorists. If theyd had to get a warrant for every one of those taps, it would take 400,000 more court clerks and FBI agents to catch all the terrorists. Would you rather see your tax dollars spent on federal agents filling out forms...? or catching terrorists?

     

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  2.  
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    JJ, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 3:02pm

    Re:

    > Dude you've got to be on the BOUNCE to catch those terrorists. If theyd had to get a warrant for every one of those taps, it would take 400,000 more court clerks and FBI agents to catch all the terrorists. Would you rather see your tax dollars spent on federal agents filling out forms...? or catching terrorists?

    If you read the post you'll realize it has nothing to do with having warrants or not -- but the fact that the FBI failed to report the usage of these things to Congress. That has nothing to do with whether or not it's helping them catch terrorists.

     

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    Lizzie Lou Chambers, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 3:04pm

    Just curious...

    Even if the FBI had a perfectly streamlined process (yearh, I know...that is a humorous thought), the question is...would they still have gone ahead and tracked the NSLs? Hmmm....

     

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  4.  
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    Brad Eleven, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    Blame vs. Responsibility

    Well, of course they have to blame it on something. That's so much more convenient and career-protecting that simply owning up to having violated the law--in the name of enforcing the law.

    I think law enforcement tends to ruin the judgment of human beings. Career cops tend to become callous and insensitive to constitutional rights--in many cases, even to basic human rights. They think they're covered, after all, their friends will protect them or cover for them if they get caught breaking the law. After all, their fellow officers have got their back in truly life-threatening situations. It's just a baby step to apply that logic to any category of threat, including the threat of getting caught breaking the law.

    You know, the laws that these people are sworn to enforce.

    I think that each and every one of them should have to take responsibility and apologize to the public on prime-time TV. Heck, I'd shell out for Pay-Per-View.

     

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  5.  
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    teknosapien, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 3:33pm

    Thats funny

    I'm betting that they didn't lose a single file on the thousands of people they kept tabs on.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 4:14pm

    when there's no price to pay for wrong doing - wrong doing gets done.

     

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  7.  
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    Josh, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    3x5 index cards?

    So, the FBI is in to the Hipster PDA? Doesn't sound so bad...perhaps this will help them with Getting Things Done?

     

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  8.  
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    Julian, Mar 28th, 2007 @ 5:02pm

    The FBI forgot to mention...

    What about Elvis and those darned crop circles?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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