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) 3×5 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.