Tales from the Trail

Hey, even the FBI gets telemarketing calls

TELECOMSYep, it’s true. Even the G-men who are trying to track down criminals get calls from those pesky telemarketers.

Buried in a 160-page report by the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine was a little nugget that the Federal Bureau of Investigation apparently has been receiving calls from telemarketers on telephone lines set up for wiretaps.

When the FBI gets a court order to tap a phone line, they set up telephone lines that deliver those calls to the authorities.  However, it turns out that those phone lines are assigned actual numbers by the phone company.

“It is not uncommon for these lines to ‘receive’ calls from telemarketers and others who use auto-dialers and other automated call technology to place calls,” FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said in a letter to the inspector general.

The issue came up when the inspector general expressed concern that an FBI field office had gone beyond the period in which a court ordered wiretap was authorized, known as an ‘overrun’, or had possibly collected material after a judge had ordered the FBI to stop.

Senate battle brewing: surveillance vs privacy

FINANCIAL-FRAUD/FBIA battle appeared to be emerging in the U.S. Senate over extending terrorism surveillance methods versus bolstering privacy protections.

The Obama administration wants to extend three key surveillance techniques adopted in the Patriot Act law after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to track terrorism suspects.

They are roving wiretaps to track multiple communications devices an individual may use; access business records; and what’s known as the “lone wolf” provision to watch an individual who may be hatching terror plots but isn’t part of a bigger group. Those three expire Dec. 31.