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Implementation of the Communications Assistance
For Law Enforcement Act
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Report No. 02-14
March 2002
Office of the Inspector General


Congress enacted the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in 1994 to require telecommunications carriers (carriers) to make certain modifications to their systems to ensure that technological advances in the telecommunications industry (industry) would not compromise the ability of law enforcement agencies to engage in lawful electronic surveillance. The CALEA also requires telecommunications manufacturers (manufacturers) to make available to the carriers such features or modifications necessary to permit carriers to comply with the CALEA requirements.

Congress assigned overall responsibility for implementing the CALEA to the Attorney General and authorized $500 million for its implementation. The Attorney General delegated the responsibility of implementing the CALEA to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The CALEA required the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General to report to the Congress biannually, beginning April 1, 1998, on the equipment, facilities, and services that have been modified to comply with the CALEA requirements; whether the FBI payments to the carriers were reasonable and cost effective; and projections of future costs for such modifications.

The FBI has made progress toward its goal of ensuring that law enforcement agencies have the ability to conduct lawfully authorized electronic surveillance. The FBI entered into right-to-use (RTU) license agreements with certain carriers and five manufacturers to reimburse carriers for the purchase of RTU licenses for the electronic surveillance software (software) from the manufacturers. The FBI has paid or obligated nearly $400 million for this purpose.

The FBI prepared a Determination and Findings Regarding the Implementation of the CALEA prior to entering into these RTU software license agreements to support its determination for the reasonableness of the costs. The FBI prepared this document because it was unable to determine the reasonableness of the cost of the RTU software licenses through traditional means, such as cost or price analysis. This resulted from the lack of adequate cost or price data. As such, the information given to us by the FBI did not provide us with a basis for determining the reasonableness of these costs. Accordingly, we offer no opinion on the reasonableness of the costs for the RTU software licenses.

The RTU software license agreements did not include costs for deployment of the carrier technical solutions. These are the modifications carriers must make to their systems to activate the CALEA-compliant software features provided by the manufacturers to comply with the CALEA capability and capacity requirements. The FBI estimated that for each additional $100 million in funding, solutions to satisfy the CALEA capability requirements could be deployed in at least 25 percent of locations prioritized by the FBI. The FBI had not yet estimated future costs to implement the CALEA capacity requirements.

The FBI determined that the $500 million authorized under the CALEA is not sufficient to fund implementation of the carrier's technical solutions. The additional amount necessary has not been determined yet due to incomplete negotiations with the industry and ongoing technical innovations in the telecommunications field.

This report details the major activities initiated by the FBI to implement CALEA. Our audit scope and background are contained in Appendix II. The report, which contains no recommendations, is closed.