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

Audit Report 08-20
March 2008
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix II
Prior OIG Audit Reports

The OIG issued five previous audit reports on CALEA implementation and the TCCF payments under 47 U.S.C. §1001 et. seq. 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 TCCF reimbursement.39 At that time, the carriers had not modified any equipment pursuant to CALEA, and the FBI had made no payments to carriers.

In March 2000, the OIG reported that the FBI began negotiations with carrier and manufacturer representatives to determine the most appropriate way to arrange for carriers to meet the capability requirements.40 The FBI also entered into RTU license agreements with a vendor (Nortel) and certain carriers to permit 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.

The OIG reported in March 2002 that the FBI had paid or obligated about $400 million for carrier purchases of RTU software licenses.41 We 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 since each major carrier would require an additional $100 million in funding, capability solutions could only be deployed in about 25 percent of the switches prioritized by the FBI.

In April 2004, the OIG reported that deployment of CALEA technical solutions remained delayed and the FBI did not collect and maintain data on carrier equipment that was CALEA-compliant.42 Instead, the FBI estimated that carriers had activated CALEA solution software on approximately 50 percent of pre-January 1, 1995 and 90 percent of post-January 1, 1995 wireless equipment, and only 10 to 20 percent of wire line equipment. FBI personnel advised that some law enforcement agencies could not conduct proper surveillance on non-CALEA-compliant equipment, but the FBI could not demonstrate evidence of adverse impacts. The OIG concluded it was critical for the FBI to collect data on carrier compliance and the impact to law enforcement of non-compliance to determine the extent to which electronic surveillance is compromised.

Except for a one-time payment of $2.2 million, the 2004 report found that the FBI had not made any payments from TCCF funds for carriers to activate of CALEA-compliant software.43 Furthermore, cost estimates from the FBI suggested that the current funding level of $500 million for CALEA was insufficient to activate necessary switches. 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 questioned the accuracy of the FBI’s estimates or whether CALEA’s implementation cost could be determined with any amount of specificity.

Our most recent report, issued in March 2006, documented that the $450 million the FBI expended on RTU software licenses did not guarantee that CALEA compliant software would be operable or cover carriers’ activation costs.44 At the time of publication, the FBI was negotiating reimbursement agreements with 4 wire line carriers regarding deploying CALEA solutions on pre-1995 equipment. The 2006 report also found that CALEA has provided law enforcement agencies with beneficial electronic surveillance features, but these benefits generally have not been realized on wire line systems. However, the report revealed that the effects of delayed implementation on wire lines were mitigated by the limited number of wiretaps performed on wire lines (only 12 percent of the total as of 2005). Moreover, the report found that the growing popularity of Internet telephony and emerging technologies have undercut the usefulness of wiretaps conducted on traditional communication networks.

  1. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Implementation of the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, Audit Report 98-13 (March 1998).

  2. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Implementation of the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, Audit Report 00-10 (March 2000).

  3. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Implementation of the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Audit Report 02-14 (March 2002).

  4. 2004 OIG CALEA Implementation Report.

  5. The FBI entered into a $6.2 million agreement with Qwest to ensure that its network in Salt Lake City was CALEA-compliant for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Of this amount, $4 million was derived from FBI Counterterrorism funds and $2.2 million came from CALEA funding.

  6. 2006 OIG CALEA Implementation Report.

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