According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, technical problems are also to blame
The FBI has been eavesdropping since 11.9. 2001 as part of anti-terrorism investigations under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as much as possible to ensure that no hint of suspected terrorist activity escapes his attention. Among them, of course, also many languages, for example, in Arabic. But many of the thousands of recorded conversations remain misunderstood because the eavesdroppers have not kept up with the translation, even though the FBI has been given more money and more staff for this purpose.
With the Patriot Act, the restrictions of the FISA law were largely lifted, so that the FBI is allowed to monitor and intercept people even if there is no concrete suspicion of a crime, if they are spying for a foreign power in the USA or are pursuing terrorist purposes (USA: Free flow of information between intelligence services and FBI). Even if technically the capacities of a more and more rampant surveillance may exist, the scenario of the all eavesdropping Big Brother sometimes seems to fail because of banal things. However, the extent of the eavesdropping operations, as now evidenced by the compilation, revised for publication, of a report by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine from the U.S. Department of Justice became known, quite astonishing.
Thus, since 11.9. 2001 123.000 hours of recorded telephone conversations conducted in languages that terrorists are believed to speak predominantly, which v.A. Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto, had not been translated by April 2004. This means that a total of about 600,000 hours were recorded during this period.000 hours were recorded during this period, and for a fifth of them it is not yet known what the content was. And in the context of counterintelligence investigations, another 370,000 hours were not.000 untranslated hours of intercepted telephone conversations.
In total, about half a million hours, or 30 percent, of all recorded telephone conversations in foreign languages were not translated. From this, it can be concluded that the FBI alone listened to and recorded over 1.5 million hours of telephone conversations, not including the overheard conversations in English. The report assumes, however, that the amount of unprocessed records was allowed to be even higher. It is also mandated that conversations tapped from suspected al-Qaida members must be reviewed within 12 hours. This was not the case in one third of the 900 cases investigated by the Inspector General. In 50 cases, translation took at least a month.
Digital copies disappear due to automatic deletion
The budget of the FBI’s Translation Division was cut after 9/11.9. When it became clear that there were far too few translators for Arabic languages, allowing Islamist terrorists to plan their attacks with relative impunity. 21.5 million US dollars were available in 2001, and 70 million in 2004. The number of ubersetzer rose from 883 to 1.214, the number of translators for Arabic and Pashto alone increased by 45 percent. But this is apparently not enough to have actually not only stored but also checked the flood of intercepted documents.
However, translators for Pashto (Afghanistan), Farsi (Iran) or Urdu (Pakistan) were, as the report shows, not available before 9/11.9. Very dark sat. It is also interesting to note that, in addition to the number of translators of Turkish, Kurdish, Korean and French, the number of translators of Russian and Chinese has also increased, which allows some conclusions to be drawn about the geopolitical situation.
Overall, the number of records in anti-terrorism investigations in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto increased by 45 percent from 2201 to 2003. Texts in these languages grew an equal 566 percent. Overall, the number of text, video, and audio recordings has been steadily increasing since 2001. Especially in the field of counterintelligence there was an explosion starting in 2003. While 276.503 hours of telephone conversations in foreign languages were recorded here in 2002, just one percent more than in 2001, in 2003 the figure was 439.038 hours: almost a doubling. A similar increase can be observed for the collected texts, measured in pages. What this is all about, however, is kept secret.
Not only organizational shortcomings or insufficient number of translators are blamed for the amount of untranslated speech, but also technical problems. For example, the FBI’s digital memories had a limited capacity, so that records, even if not yet translated, were sometimes automatically deleted to make room for new records. But there are also problems with the fact that the amount of automatically deleted audio recordings can often neither be identified nor quantified. So far, there are no control systems to protect important recordings from being deleted. Tests have shown that in three out of eight translation bureaus, intercepted al-Qaida speech was deleted before it could be checked. Due to the growing volume of translations, the FBI has established a secure communications network called Arachnet to more efficiently distribute the intercepted speech to FBI translation bureaus across the country. But here, too, there seem to be serious problems with the "successful passing on from one office to another" to give.