Good news, everyone!

>> Thursday, January 10, 2008

Being a civil libertarian, of course I've been infuriated and enraged at the way the Bush administration has sought to expand the government's ability to surveil American citizens, the way in which Congress has allowed them to do it, and the way in which telecom providers have prostrated themselves to the government in their haste to turn over their records.

What was I worried about? Why was I worried about it? Surely I'm wise enough to understand how incompetent bureaucracies are--I work for a state agency; we've been known to have trouble keeping ourselves supplied with ink pens. We once had a $3,000 computer on our inventory that turned out to be a ten or fifteen year-old Tandy.

I've been worried about Big Brother monitoring phone calls, and it turns out the phone companies are canceling Big Brother's phone privileges because Big Brother doesn't pay his phone bill:
In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation "was halted due to untimely payment," the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government's most sensitive and secretive criminal investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies.

"We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence," according to the audit by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.

More than half of 990 bills to pay for telecommunication surveillance in five unidentified FBI field offices were not paid on time, the report shows. In one office alone, unpaid costs for wiretaps from one phone company totaled $66,000.

The FBI did not have an immediate comment.
No comment? Dude, you're supposed to say that you never got the bill and you'll be in Tuesday after you get paid to clear things up.


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