Thursday, July 06, 2006

FBI Computer woes continue

A consultant working for the FBI hacked the FBI's network to basically do his job. This is not reassuring.

Colon's lawyer said in a court filing that his client was hired to work on the FBI's "Trilogy" computer system but became frustrated over "bureaucratic" obstacles, such as obtaining a written authorization from the FBI's Washington headquarters for "routine" matters such as adding a printer or moving a new computer onto the system. He said Colon used the hacked user names and passwords to bypass the authorization process and speed up the work....

The FBI's Trilogy program cost more than $535 million but failed to produce a usable case-management system for agents because of cost overruns and technical problems, according to the Government Accountability Office.

While Trilogy led to successful hardware upgrades and thousands of new PCs for bureau workers and agents, the final phase — a software system called the Virtual Case File — was abandoned last year. The FBI announced in March that it would spend an additional $425 million in an attempt to finish the job. The new system would be called "Sentinel."....

The FBI's struggle to modernize its computer system has been a recurring headache for [FBI Director] Mueller and has earned [the FBI] considerable criticism from lawmakers.

Better computer technology might have enabled agents to more closely link men who later turned out to be involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, according to intelligence reviews conducted after the terrorist strikes. |Seattle Times|

The Federal government was a leader in adoption of high technology back in the 1960's, but current government IT initiatives have been burdened by huge legacy problems and the sheer breadth of the federal government.

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