US sues Sprint for overbilling wiretap expenses

“Federal officials filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that Sprint Communications Inc. overbilled government agencies $21 million for wiretap services,” Paul Elias reports for The Associated Press.

“The lawsuit filed federal court in San Francisco alleges that that subsidiary of Sprint Corp. collected unallowable expenses from the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other government agencies while carrying out court-ordered wiretaps and other electronic intercepts of its customers,” Elias report. “Communication companies ordered by courts to intercept customers’ communications are allowed to recoup the cost of installing and maintaining the wiretaps.”

“The DOJ is seeking $63 million, a tripling of its damages it said it’s entitled to if a jury finds Sprint filed false claims,” Elias report. “A Sprint spokesman said the company denies the allegations. ‘Under the law, the government is required to reimburse Sprint for its reasonable costs incurred when assisting law enforcement agencies with electronic surveillance,’ Sprint spokesman John Taylor said. ‘The invoices Sprint has submitted to the government fully comply with the law. We have fully cooperated with this investigation and intend to defend this matter vigorously.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

25 Comments

    1. The irony is the government, in carrying out illegal activities against American citizens, has the audacity to sue a private company it feels its billing is unjust in aiding the pursuit of said criminal activities.

      1. Only some (perhaps even none) of the surveillance charges were for National Security Letters. As the article says, a portion of the charges were for court-ordered wire taps. Those are issued only by regular civilian courts and only when the court finds that probable cause has been showed by an investigative service that a crime was—or is—being committed.

        It might be nice if the government walked up to Mafia types, said “pretty please” tell us about your illegal activities and we’ll put an after-dinner mint on your pillow. But it doesn’t work that way.

        1. My response was to the original question, not your amazing insight into the detailed billing practices of Sprint. Incidentally, “court ordered wiretaps” originate from the illegal “secret courts” of the NSA also.

          1. Yeah, I know: The U.S. government (the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches) are all coordinating to do illegal stuff and Snowden is a hero in your mind. Uh, huh.

            1. Do you not consider the government’s violations of the Fourth Amendment to be illegal? Do you not agree that those violations would have not become public without the leaks provided by Edward Snowden? Do you not agree that Edward Snowden has lost his job, his family, his home, his country in order to provide those leaks to Americans?

              If you answered no to any of the above questions, please ask yourself if you are a coward,

            2. No shit, Bot. ‘Agree with me or you’re a coward.’: Where’d you learn your debate skills? In college debate class? Or on the 6th-grade playground?

  1. Another example of selective prosecution by the DOJ.

    Someone at the State Dept. didn’t get their palms greased, so they’re gonna ‘make an example’ out of Sprint for over-billing. As if ‘the gov’t’ isn’t replete with waste, fraud and abuse in other areas.

    http://www.scragged.com/articles/yes-virginia-a-298-hammer-really-costs-our-government-100

    By the way, why were they conducting wiretaps in the first place? Oh yeah… ‘National Security’. Right.

  2. Folks, this is it. The federal government has officially run out of money. $17 trillion in debt will do that to you. If you have no idea what $17 trillion means, you can probably pave a highway surfaced in gold between Washington DC where the Black Jesus and his minions live and Mars Curiosity Rover currently on the surface of Mars.

    You can probably reach Uranus and Neptune and beyond before we even see the back end of $17 trillion. Folks, the DOJ needs to shakedown every company that does business in the U.S. before they make a dent on the national debt, and that includes Apple, Sprint and anyone the government goons can train their guns on.

    1. The “Black Jesus?”

      Racist much?

      Based on that comment, I’d wager that if you want a road to Uranus, your head has apparently already paved one and driven itself there…

        1. This is a Mac website and you’re coming here with your “Impeach Obama” logo and your constant trolling isn’t at all welcome. Being provocative just for the sake of being provocative takes about as much sophistication as a graffiti artist tagging a bridge: “Look at me! I exist and matter!”

          No; you don’t. To be blunt, you are clearly too stupid and opinionated to be worth debating with. The poor fools who try learn fast. They go “Oh…” to themselves and then leave you to feel smug about yourself. The rest ignore you.

            1. It’s amazing how many Constitutional Law scholars and historians are attracted to MDN.

              I’m glad in knowing that Apple products attract such intelligent, well-informed people to its culture.

            2. Noticed that myself. I’d feel a bit more confident in following their advice, however, if they actually wrote and sounded like the scholars they are, and if their citations consisted more of established law or peer-reviewed publications and less of opinion pieces and unsubstantiated news reports.

              It may simply be that in an unregulated public forum, such as this one, they simply enjoy relaxing, and go casual like the rest of us.

              I can easily picture lawyers and policy analysts on an unmade futon in their underwear, copying and pasting from websites — saving the bother of trudging over to their libraries to pull down a heavy tome to look up a fine legal point for our edification. Completely understandable, that. Not strictly professional, mind you, but good enough for dispensing unpaid legal advice to an audience who’ve already exposed themselves as fools. No harm, no fault.

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