Deadbeats In Silk Suits
The evening gown-clad corpse of J. Edgar Hoover must be rolling over in his grave at what his once buttoned-down and efficient if ruthless Bureau has become. In addition to agents proving to be spies for the Soviet Unon and the Mob, torturers, political blackmailers and flacks for the Clintons, and warrantless wiretappers to the nation, the FBI can now add "deadbeat" to their list of shameful accomplishments.
Reuters reports that "A telephone company cut off an FBI international wiretap after the agency failed to pay its bill on time, according to a U.S. government audit released on Thursday."
Well, I guess that's one safeguard against domestic spying. Your wiretap may be warrantless and unwarranted, but if they don't pay their bill the phone company will pull the plug on the Feebs.
"The Justice Department's inspector general faulted the FBI for poor handling of money used in undercover investigations, which it said made the agency vulnerable to theft and mishandled invoices. It cited the case in which a wiretap under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs electronic spying in terrorism and intelligence cases, was disrupted due to an overdue bill. 'Late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence, including an instance where delivery of intercept information required by a ... FISA order was halted due to untimely payment,' the audit said."
Now, that's fascinating. The phone company apparently has more juice than the secret and unconstitutional FISA court set up by Jimmy Carter all those years ago. Kind of like that old James Coburn movie The President's Analyst.
"The FISA program, denounced by critics as overly intrusive and unconstitutional, is up for renewal in Congress. But lawmakers are bogged down over the scope of the program and liability protections for telephone companies that took part in a domestic eavesdropping program launched by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks. The audit followed a 2006 case in which an FBI employee pleaded guilty to stealing more than $25,000 in confidential case funds intended for undercover telecoms services."
Dear me, dear me, an FBI agent embezzling black ops funds intended for illegal and unconstitutional use? What an odd moral dilemma that poses. Can one steal ill-gotten gains? Is it ethical to steal money that is going to be used by political gangsters to harm largely innocent people?
Maybe the FBI guy wasn't stealing the money. Maybe he wanted to use it to pay the phone bill.