Fbi Sees Delay In New Network To Oversee Cases
The FBI says it will not fully deploy the Virtual Case File system by year’s end because of some remaining issues, such as testing. Partial functionality will be in place in some sites, and likely include FBI headquarters.
Virtual Case File allows agents to more easily share and search for information via their internal networks, but has lagged significantly in its implementation. FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi says rolling out such a complex system to 28,000 users is a daunting task that requires careful testing.
Meanwhile, congressional and federal investigations show the FBI is still unprepared to fight modern terrorism in terms of digital infrastructure. The agency’s primary information system was built using 1980s technology and was even deemed obsolete when installed in 1995.
Virtual Case File is part of the larger Trilogy project which also entails broad upgrades to agents’ desktops and Internet connections. National Research Council report author Herbert S. Lin says the FBI is changing its approach and he applauds recent indications that the FBI will incrementally deploy new capabilities.
Bruce McConnell, formerly an IT official with Office of Management and Budget, says money was not the main issue with the FBI’s IT problems. Instead, the conservative nature of law enforcement officials led to lagging IT adoption, but McConnell praises director Robert Mueller for making the difficult issue a central effort. Even privacy advocates say the FBI should improve its data management capabilities.
Center for Democracy and Technology associate director Alan Davidson says the FBI needs network upgrades to better use its existing data, and does not need broader data collection powers.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the New York Times (06/26/04) P. A1; Schwartz, John; Bergman, Lowell .