Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Know If Someone Bugged Your Room

For tips on sweeping a room for surreptitious surveillance devices, look no further than the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That's where members of the federal government have been going for years to find out who's wiretapped their telephone or implanted a microphone in their corner office. And now we know a lot more about the bureau's routine wiretap inspections thanks to, a website that publishes documents from Freedom of Information Act requests. The site has published a 66MB cache of correspondence from 1952 to 1995 detailing various issues of telephone security often involving paranoid government officials from senators to post master generals to secretaries of the Department of Agriculture to President Richard Nixon who think someone is surreptitiously listening to their conversations. 

It's going to take an army of readers to rummage through the entire cache of FBI documents but from what we've read so far, much of the correspondence involves government officials requesting wiretap inspections from the FBI, typically because they fear sensitive information has leaked from their office, and, upon inspection, the FBI finds nothing. Interestingly, they do often provide an informative report on how they went about sweeping the room.
As you can imagine, the descriptions of wiretap sweeps get much more technical from the '50s to the '70s to the '90s. In the old days, a wiretap inspection was simpler. Take this sweep of the office of Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield in 1953. 

Note: A "Do it yourself" sweep, is kind of like "do it yourself" get what you pay for...
Don't let those "leaks" me, I can help. ~JDL

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