September 28, 2004
Al Queda Tapes Accidentally Erased From FBI's TiVo

Replaced By "Must-See TV"

Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 120,000 hours of potentially valuable terrorism-related recordings have not yet been translated by linguists at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and computer problems may have led the bureau to systematically erase some Qaeda recordings, according to a declassified summary of a Justice Department investigation that was released on Monday.
The FBI revealed today that it had accidentally erased possibly important tapes of intercepted al Qaeda communications because they had been stored on the Agency's TIVO digital video recorder. "The tapes were erased to make room for a very special episode of 'Everybody Loves Raymond,'" said a spokesman.

The FBI has over 120,000 hours of yet-to-be-translated terrorist communications, and not enough hard drive space -- that is, computer memory storage devices -- on which to keep them.

"Which you can understand," said Rapsutin Gelertner, an FBI snitch turned spokesman. "I mean, 300 gigabytes of hard drive space costs almost $300. Where is the FBI going to get that kind of money?"

To make up for the lack of storage space, agents have been saving al Queda conversations to any device that will hold them, including the agency TiVo.

Overhauling the government's translation and storage capabilities has been a top priority for the Bush administration in its campaign against terrorism. "It's a good thing, too," said Gelertner. "Imagine if we weren't trying."

"More needs to be done, and a lot less of what we're not doing now," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller II, also known as Special Agent in charge of Lollygagging. "We've only had three years to work on or acknowledge this problem," he said. "We just now finished a committee report on it. We're waiting for that to be typed, but we're out of paper."

Posted by Tom Burka at 12:22 PM in News