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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the FBI. They get the award for the following.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Telephone companies cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau's repeated failures to pay phone bills on time, according to a Justice Department audit released Thursday.

The faulty bookkeeping is part of what the audit, by the Justice Department's inspector general, described as the FBI's lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. Poor supervision of the program also allowed one agent to steal $25,000, the audit said.

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.

And at least once, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation -- the highly secretive and sensitive cases that allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies -- "was halted due to untimely payment."

"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.

I think the article speaks for itself. Administrative incompetence earns the FBI today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Below the Beltway. Michelle Malkin also called this a Code Red- Elmo alert.


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Comments (6)

The excuse the telecoms use... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

The excuse the telecoms use for their wanting immunity WAS that they were just being patriotic when they broke the law.

And the White House claims that gathering this information was not illegal BECAUSE they were paying for it.

And there are those who ... (Below threshold)
John McDaniel:

And there are those who want these government types to run our health care. What are they thinking?

Great. And my fair city, C... (Below threshold)
langtry:

Great. And my fair city, Chicago, just hired an FBI guy to head our Police Department. To be honest, I think Chief Wies will be a good addition to our city, but the idea that they'd neglect the phone bills on a wiretap (and therefore have to go through the whole lengthy and expensive process of re-petitioning the Judge, etc.) is not confidence-inspiring.

If you've contracted with t... (Below threshold)
Mike:

If you've contracted with the federal government, you'll know that they routinely take 6 to 18 months to pay invoices. So I'm not surprised by this in the least.

Don't blame the FBI overall... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Don't blame the FBI overall or the Agents at all. This is the type stuff you only get from a bunch of entrenched anti-american civil service wonks (left over democrats). They are still running Hanoi John against Bush and they don't care how many of you die just as long as they get they're way. I'll get a good laugh if a democrat is elected POTUS and does what all democrats do, cut the intel services to the bone and fire (cut) the hypocrites in civil service.

They deserve the award, but... (Below threshold)

They deserve the award, but the FBI is hardly alone in the federal government in the lax accounting department.

In fact, federal agencies ought to be declared ineligible for KotD awards, lest they monopolize them and amass a stockpile (which, one year later, they would neither be able to locate nor account for).




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