Friday, January 11, 2008

23 1/2

In From the Cold notes that the FBI's wiretaps are frequently cut off because if doesn't pay its phone bills.

The problem apparently stems (in part) from an antiquated financial management system, in use for more than 20 years. Reading the IG summary, it sounds like the FBI software is light-years behind QuickBooks, and other commercial programs. Auditors found that the current system does not allow users to enter details for confidential case payments, including vendor names and invoice numbers. As a result, it's often difficult to determine what phone bills have been paid, and where refunds should be applied.

Inspectors also discovered that the system is ripe for fraud:

As part of our review of the FBI’s oversight of confidential case funds, we also examined the personnel and security files of 35 field division employees who had daily access to confidential case funds. This examination revealed that nearly half of the sampled employees had indications of personal financial problems, such as late loan payments and bankruptcies. As demonstrated by our review of FBI files, the 5-year background investigation program may be helpful in identifying employees who have financial hardships or concerns. Beyond identification, however, the FBI has not developed or implemented procedures that ensure employees with financial concerns are not placed in situations where they are responsible for approving and handling confidential case funds without enhanced supervision. We believe that the FBI needs to develop and implement procedures that ensure employees with serious financial concerns do not regularly handle confidential case funds without additional oversight or safeguards.


Blogger herb said...

A scandal of the late 90's involved the abject failure of the DOJ to implement a secure database for their records. Spent a zillion dollars and gave up after four or five years.

I recall learning at the time that the FBI was still relying on Teletypes(tm) and Faxes to communicate.

I think I'll go have a drink.

1/11/2008 01:16:00 PM  

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