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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.


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Comments on “FBI Finds Convenient Scapegoat For Forgotten National Security Letters: Crappy Computer System”

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8 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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?

JJ says:

Re: 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.

Brad Eleven (profile) says:

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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