The Implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
Audit Report 06-13
Office of the Inspector General
In March 1998, the OIG reported that the FBI and the telecommunications industry disagreed over what capabilities had to be provided for a carrier to be CALEA-compliant and eligible for reimbursement (see OIG Report No. 98-13). At that time, the carriers had not modified any equipment pursuant to CALEA, and the FBI had not made any payments to the carriers.
In March 2000, the OIG reported that the FBI had begun negotiations with carrier and manufacturer representatives to determine the most appropriate way to arrange for carriers to meet the assistance capability requirements (see OIG Report No. 00-10). The OIG reported that the FBI had entered into RTU license agreements with a manufacturer (Nortel) and certain carriers to permit all carriers who were using specified Nortel equipment, the use of the CALEA software solutions developed by Nortel. The FBI negotiated a price of $101.8 million for carrier purchase of these RTU software licenses, with payments made to Nortel on behalf of all carriers who used the Nortel equipment specified in the agreement.
In March 2002, the OIG reported that the FBI had paid or obligated about $400 million for carrier purchases of the RTU software licenses to: Lucent Technologies - $170 million, Nortel - $102 million, Motorola - $55 million, Siemens AG - $40 million, and AG Communications - $30 million (see OIG Report No. 02-14). The OIG also reported that the FBI had not entered into any agreements to reimburse carriers for activation of the software developed under the RTU agreements. At that time, the FBI estimated that for each additional $100 million in funding, capability solutions could be deployed in at least 25 percent of the locations prioritized by the FBI. The FBI had previously identified carrier equipment locations with high electronic surveillance activity and determined these to be priority locations for the deployment of the electronic surveillance standards.
In April 2004, the OIG reported that after more than nine years and nearly $450 million in payments or obligations, deployment of CALEA technical solutions for electronic surveillance remained delayed. The FBI did not collect and maintain data on carrier equipment that was CALEA-compliant. Nevertheless, FBI personnel estimated that CALEA-compliant software had been activated on approximately 50 percent of pre-January 1, 1995, and 90 percent of post-January 1, 1995, wireless equipment. In addition, according to FBI estimates, CALEA-compliant software had been activated on only 10 to 20 percent of wireline equipment.
FBI personnel advised us that law enforcement agencies were unable to properly conduct electronic surveillance on equipment for which the CALEA-compliant software had not been activated. However, the FBI was unable to demonstrate the extent to which lawful electronic surveillance had been adversely impacted by the lack of CALEA implementation. The OIG concluded that it was critical that the FBI collect data on carrier compliance and the impact of non compliance on enforcement to determine the extent to which electronic surveillance was being compromised.
The OIG also reported that although the FBI had made about $450 million in payments and obligations to equipment manufacturers for RTU licenses, except for a one-time payment of $2.2 million, the FBI had not yet made any payments from CALEA funds to telecommunications carriers for activation of CALEA compliant software.87 Furthermore, cost estimates from the FBI suggested that the current funding level of $500 million for CALEA was insufficient. In December 2003, the FBI estimated that about $204 million in additional funds might be required; however, because cost estimates for CALEA implementation varied widely, and technological change continued to occur at a rapid pace the OIG was skeptical of the accuracy of the FBI’s estimates or whether CALEA’s implementation cost could be determined with any specificity.
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