Several telecommunications companies have disconnected the phones of five of the FBI's 56 field offices, including some lines that were being used in covert surveillance, because the FBI was delinquent in paying their bills.
A review of the records of field offices by the Justice Department has revealed hundreds of unpaid invoices which has forced the phone companies to turn off the FBI's lines, threatening covert investigations and leading to the loss of evidence.
Of the 990 telecommunication surveillance payments charged to the five field offices over half were unpaid or not paid on time.
A Justice Department review showed that in five of the bureau’s 56 field offices hundreds of invoices went delinquent, threatening the integrity of covert investigations and resulting in an undisclosed amount of lost evidence.
The Justice Department report goes on to say:
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 including an instance where delivery of intercept information required by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order was halted due to untimely payment.
An examination of the personnel files of the employees in 35 field divisions has revealed that "nearly half" of those who had access to the funds that were supposed to be used to pay the bills had "indications of personal financial problems, such as late loan payments and bankruptcies.’’
It has been reported that one agent had used the opportunity to embezzle $25,000