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FBI Not Good At Paying Wiretap Bills

from the a-near-total-mess dept

While the FBI has regularly decided that court orders aren't necessary for wiretaps, it is a bit surprising to find out that it seems to feel the same way about paying the bills for wiretaps. Newly released info show that the FBI often failed to pay its wiretapping bills, leading one telco to cut off the FBI's wiretaps until it finally paid up. Given how screwed up the FBI's computer systems are, perhaps it's not surprising that they don't have an acceptable accounts payable system either.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Overcast, Jan 10th, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    All the money they soak from us for taxes... and they can't pay their phone bills? Maybe they are too busy nosing into people's business and not taking care of their own.

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

  2. identicon
    Rick, Jan 10th, 2008 @ 7:24pm

    I wish it was that easy. Wait, maybe, just maybe.....

    If we stop paying taxes, will the government stop functioning? PLEASE!

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

  3. identicon
    Justin, Jan 10th, 2008 @ 8:02pm


    What I find funniest:

    "Some of the problems stemmed from telecoms billing multiple times for individual surveillance warrants -- which, in the case of Cox Communications, costs $1500 for a 30-day wiretap order."

    At least now we know they're fair in their greed; they overcharge the government just as much as they overcharge us.

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

  4. identicon
    jJack Rennscheidt, Jan 10th, 2008 @ 8:06pm

    comon sense

    Perhaps we need a Department Of Common Sense which would have the power to over rule other government department's foolish regulations, rules, edicts, and fiats. They could tell other agencies, "We have studied your proposals and find them completely idiotic and just plain stupid." The same would apply to Congress...there's a lot of stupidity there too. Probably 80% of the government could be eliminated. Of course it will never happen: it makes too much sense

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

  5. identicon
    Greybeard, Jan 10th, 2008 @ 8:15pm

    What scruples?

    I find it interesting that the phone companies won't turn down wiretaps based on ethical considerations but if you don't pay your bill you're history? It makes it entirely too clear where the Corporate Ethic lives ... the Basement!

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2008 @ 8:17pm

    Re: What scruples?

    What does paying your bill have to do with ethics at all?

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

  7. identicon
    Dave Z, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 1:07am

    dystopia - "protecting" freedom

    The dystopia of THX-1138 hits the FBI.

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

  8. identicon
    Unknown Coward, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 2:48am

    Throw the deadbeats in the slammer!

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

  9. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 3:49am

    Re: What scruples?

    LOL - damn fine point

    I love the fact that its a paid service, I'd never even considered it before. I wonder if they have a brochure with different options. Does the deluxe service come with pager notifcation, do they get SMS messages informing them that to qualify for reduced rate wiretapping, their targets just need to make another 2 minutes of calls today?

    Do they get their own helpdesk and does it suck as much as the normal one? "oh I'm sorry I just sent the invoice for wiretapping to the wiretap address - is that a problem?"

    I love it

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 5:25am


    some say paying federal income tax is unconstitutional

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

  11. identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 5:31am

    Your Phone Bill

    I wonder if they have to pay all those silly additional charges as well.

    For example the Universal Service Charge, because those living in rural areas are in need of affordable wiretaps.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    So if they are so bad at actually doing things, why is everyone so worried about their capabilities?

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

  13. identicon
    M. Thompson, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    Federal Income Taxes

    Actually there is no constitutional provision for FEDERAL taxes.

    If I read it correctly (and I am by no means an expert) it provides for states to tax the populace but does not allow the government to tax our earnings.

    "The first U.S. income tax, enacted in 1862 to pay for the Civil War, was repealed 10 years later."

    "In 1894, Congress tried to bring back income taxes, but a year later the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in the landmark "Pollack" case."

    "By 1913, Congress gave it one more shot, and the states ratified the Sixteenth Amendment, which says:
    -The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.-"

    So an amendment allows it, though there are a lot of arguments that say this was not ratified in the normal manner and therefore shouldn't be considered a legal amendment.

    The long and the short of it is, better just go ahead and pay the taxes, there are a multitude of people fighting this in courts, so eventually there will be an 'official' repeal (not likely) or the gov't will just say STFU and pay us! (most likely)

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

  14. identicon
    Eliot, Jan 11th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    Re: Your Phone Bill

    Only if they want the extra features.

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

  15. identicon
    Enemy Sympathizer, Jan 13th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    Warrantless wiretap?

    "While the FBI has regularly decided that court orders aren't necessary for wiretaps ..."??

    That link says the FBI doesn't always get a court order when seeking calling records. Nothing about actual wiretapping -- listening in on phone calls. It's the NSA that apparently has done warrantless wiretapping, but even if you believe that was illegal (as I do), that's very different from the FBI doing it for domestic investigations.

    This administration does plenty of playing fast and loose with the law. Critics needn't play fast and loose with the facts in order to find something worth criticizing.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Enemy Sympathizer, the NSA wasn't listening in on calls, the whole case whas about calling records.

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

  17. identicon
    Leland, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 6:26pm

    wire tapping FBI lack of bill paying

    Your assertion that the FBI is foundless and without proof. In my opinion it is just another thing to bring us closer to being defeated by the enemy who wants to kill us. What do you people have to fear about having your telephones tapped? You must have something to hide. I say that if it saves us from another attack, tap away! The U. S. Government always pays its bills and you know it! Anyone who says otherwise is full of it! Get a life!

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

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