A U.S. government audit revealed last week that an FBI wiretap had been cut off by a telephone company because the Feebies hadn’t paid their bill. According to the Reuters story, this was due to a combination of outdated accounting systems and a predeliction for some agents to pinch some of the cash put aside for undercover telecommunications operations.
One would guess that since the civil-liberties-bereft Patriot Act was passed, the G-Men-and-Women have been going through “undercover telecommunications operations” funds like Stephen King goes through blank paper, slapping wiretaps on anyone who giggled when George Bush made his infamous remark about obstetriction-gynecologists being “unable to practice their love with women all across the country.” (For a complete time-waster, there’s a list of Bushisms here.)
This would never happen on the TV show 24. Can you picture Jack Bauer asking Chloe to download the schematics to the arming mechanism on a cannister of nerve gas to his PDA when, in mid-transmission, his wireless service is cut off because Bill Buchanan forgot to authorize the automated withdrawal payable to Verizon? (And can you picture anyone at Verizon — or any carrier, really — with the guts to cut off Jack’s service? I guess Bell might do it.)
In any event, asked to comment by phone, an FBI spokesperson said: “The FBI will not tolerate any financial misma –“
In unrelated news … sick of people who, with cell phone in hand, seem to lose any notion of etiquette, respect or common courtesy? Here’s a primer for them on cell phone karma, courtesy of Kyocera and YouTube.