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Load Gun, Shoot Self in Foot

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March 28, 2008

As Lou Dobbs likes to say (over…and over again), “Doesn’t anyone deserve a government that works?” We would certainly like a government that works too, but a government that repeatedly shoots itself in the foot when it comes to its own unlawful programs strikes us as ridiculous.

The latest gaffe: Wired’s Threat Level reports that the FBI’s $500 million fund to retrofit existing landline telephone switches so they can be wiretapped has run dry. But cell phone users rest assured: All cell carriers’ switches are fully wiretap-compliant.

This bungling recalls the revelation last year that the FBI has failed to pay their wiretapping bills. Wired reports:

[T]he feds biggest complaint remains that wiretaps are too expensive.

Cox Communications, for instance, charges $1,500 for a 30 day wiretap or for 60 days of real-time call record information.

…Separately, the FBI also has secret contracts with a few carriers, paying each around $1.5 million a year to store telephone records for longer periods and to respond quicker to subpoenas and court orders.

Who knew flouting the Constitution could be so…expensive?