Just Being Inquisitive

The San Jose Mercury News (subscription may be required) reported that a US Department of Commerce agent used government computers to spy on the travel movements of his ex-girl friend at least 163 times between mid-2003 and mid-2004. He used the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) to perform his spying.

According to the US Internal Revenue Service website, "TECS is a computerized information system designed to identify individuals and businesses suspected of, or involved in violation of federal law. The TECS is also a communications system permitting message transmittal between Treasury law enforcement offices and other Federal, national, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The TECS provides access to the FBIâ''s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication Systems (NLETS) with the capability of communicating directly with state and local enforcement agencies. The NLETS provides direct access to state motor vehicle departments."

The agent faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a three-year term of supervised release. There is no word if his ex-girl friend is going to file stalking charges.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City