Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Feds Can't Pay Their Phone Bill So We're All Gonna Die!! (or maybe not)

Remember how the Administration and their toady apologists were calling "Terrorist Surveillance Program" a vital tool in the war on terror which was responsible for stopping multiple attacks and saving thousands of lives? Remember how they were calling for the reporters at the N.Y. Times to be charged with treason for reporting on the story? Well, if we can judge the necessity of the program by the determination to fund it, it may not have been so vital to our safety after all.

Via Raw Story we learn that the FBI has accrued thousands of dollars in unpaid phone bills, leading to dropped wiretaps as the phone companies discontinued service.
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 and intelligence 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.
Here we have the Bush administration instituting a program which clearly violates the 4th amendment, and established law, claiming when found out that they were doing it in order to save lives, yet it turns out the program is not even worth paying the bill for. Why be upset at the loss of civil liberties and the horrible precedent set by the President as he willfully violates the law and constitution in the name of safety? This administration is not even competent enough to keep the program running effectively by paying the freaking phone bill.

Why would the administration be willing to bring on a constitutional crisis over a policy which actually proves so unimportant in the long run? Just how freaking vital a tool can the "terrorist surveillance program" really be? Every person reading this can relate to paying the phone bill. The telephone and attendant services, usually, are not vital to the survival of those paying the bill, BUT we make sure to do it anyway... if for no other reason than we owe the freaking bill! Yet in this instance, with the administration using the specter of massive death if they are not allowed to go about trashing the constitution, and crowing about the effectiveness of the program at stopping certain attacks until it was publicised, it turns out that the program is actually not important enough to pay the bill for. That is a pretty low priority and speaks volumes about the real value of the program from my point of view.

I might chortle about this in regards to the "terrorists surveillance program", but it is notable that FBI taps cover far more territory. How many domestic cases were harmed by lost evidence, how many criminals are now on the streets, and how many victims have been harmed because of the administrations patent incompetence?

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