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FBI Says $170 Million IT System Worthless
FBI Says $170 Million IT System Worthless

Efforts by the FBI to update antiquated IT services, have been, the agency announced, largely worthless. Over $170 million had been spent since 2001, when development of a new case management system started. Its old system, which relied heavily on the manual distribution of memos and internal documents, was shown to be very inefficient. Highlighted by a July 10, 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix outlining concerns that an effort was under way by Osama bin Laden to send students to the United States for flight training. The memo was sent to FBI headquarters but never acted on.

FBI director Robert Mueller, said, "I am frustrated. There were problems we did not anticipate."

Part of the problem, the FBI said in a news conference detailing failures of the Virtual Case File software, stemmed from overambitious efforts to create a new system all at once. Mueller said in the future, changes should be done in stages, so software will not be outdated by the time it is launched.

Over the years, attempts to update the FBI's computer systems have come to nothing. Hardware was purchased which was rendered unusable, since it lacked software.

While the agency, after much effort, has managed to scan all documents related to counterterrorism, no effective XML-based system has been created that would enable agents to securely share such data. The Virtual Case File software, which was commissioned from Science Applications International of San Diego, has already become outdated. Ten percent of the software developed by the company up to this point may be salvageable, although the FBI said none of the system may come to be used.

The FBI is now doing a pilot on the small portion of the software that does seem to work, that will allow agents to create case files on a computer instead of on paper. In the meantime, a commission has been put together to study what part of the technology may be retained and integrated in the future.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

### "I am frustrated. There were problems we did not anticipate." ###

Isn't that a bit of an understatement when $170M is involved. Robert Mueller needs a course in IT project management.




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