U.S. Secret Service buys 26 devices to identify and collect wireless communication data
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
An electronics company out of Victor, New York has been awarded a $32,540 contract by the U.S. Secret Service to provide 26 shielded test enclosures known as “RF [Radio Frequency] isolation test products” in order to help the Secret Service identify and collect data from wireless communication devices.
The monitoring of wireless communications is nothing new, as we’ve seen the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) pour funds into projects like the so-called F-BOMB, a dirt cheap miniature spy computer which can be concealed in just about anything in order to crack wireless networks and steal data.
Ramsey Electronics, the company who received the contract, is slated to deliver the 26 devices by July 1, which is quite interesting because the original solicitation was posted on May 4.
If you know government contracts, you know that’s a pretty speedy turnaround, especially since the contract was actually awarded on June 7.
The Secret Service is seeking these RF isolation test products for use on 802.11 a, b and g, which usually means consumer wireless internet networks; Bluetooth; RFID and 3G signals.
According to the statement posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, part of the General Services Administration (GSA) – employees of which, oddly enough, have actually commented on an article on End the Lie in the past – this is a fixed firm price contract, although they could very well purchase more in the future if needed.
“Forensic investigation of cell phones, PDA’s, and other hand-held wireless devices specifically requires complete hands-on manipulation of the wireless device to identify and extract data while maintaining complete RF isolation from the outside world,” explains Ramsey on their official website.
Indeed, the contract even requires “RF Window & Gloves” in order to manipulate the devices, indicated by the inclusion of “Unit mush [sic] have a viewing window and gloved access.”
Interestingly, this is to be delivered to James Darnell, 2821 E 8th Street Tulsa, OK 74104, while the U.S. Secret Service’s headquarters is in Washington D.C.
The devices, which will be delivered to the Secret Service early next month, are designed specifically to enable individuals to test, troubleshoot and tune devices in an environment free of RF interference.
“Once closed, a large RF tight viewing window overlooks the entire working area within the enclosure,” explains Ramsey Electronics.
“Hands-on troubleshooting, tuning and access to the device under test are accomplished using specially designed, silver impregnated, ultra fine mesh gloves that offer excellent manual dexterity and hands-on access to the equipment under test,” they add.
While the model acquired by the Secret Service normally costs $1,495 per unit, they apparently reduced their selling price to $1,250 in coming to an agreement with the Secret Service.
The question remains: why does the Tulsa, Oklahoma Secret Service field office need a whopping 26 of these test devices?
One positive thing I can see is that ludicrous sums of money weren’t spent on this procurement, although this very well might just be the initial test purchase with much more to come.
I would love to know why they need these and what they will be using them for, but good luck getting a straight answer.
If you’d like to try, feel free to give April Delancy, a Secret Service contracting officer a call at her Washington, D.C. office at (202) 406-6808 or via email at [email protected].
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