Dial-a-Probe

An FBI hot line for corruption

When residents of Tampa, Fla.'s Hillsborough County dial 229-9241, they hear a most unusual reply: "Corruption hot line." It is not a wrong number, nor is the businesslike voice on the receiving end peddling tips on how much the local health inspector will take to overlook the roaches in a restaurant. The phone is manned by an alert agent of the FBI, who listens with poised pencil to any caller's allegation that local officials are crooks.

The agent does not sit around much hoping the phone will ring. The trouble with Hillsborough County is that all too...

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