By Deborah Gage  |  Posted 2005-04-06 Email Print this article Print

The federal agency stumbled in its attempt to trade a paper-based filing system for an electronic one. Experts offer tips on how the agency can regain its balance.

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Hurdle No. 3

After 9/11, the FBI's top priority becomes terrorism, so the bureau starts a new data warehouse project that overlaps with Trilogy.

The fix: Synchronize your projects.

One technology project that Mueller counts as a success is the FBI's new Investigative Data Warehouse, which allows agents to search and create relationships among data collected from over 47 sources.

"As the years went on and we saw what the Virtual Case File was, we saw a number of capabilities we needed that we didn't anticipate prior to 9/11," Mueller told a House Appropriations subcommittee on March 8.

The Government Accountability Office, in a report issued in September 2004, said the data warehouse overlaps VCF and that the bureau needs to work on integrating the planning of its technology projects.

The FBI also is still working on expanding access to the data warehouse, Mueller told the House subcommittee. Former agent Ed Stroz, now managing partner of Stroz Friedberg LLC, says the FBI should be careful to let all agents get the same information wherever possible. "If they're creating a cocoon of excellence to get away from the mediocrity of the rest of it, what does that tell you?" he asks. "You can't have two classes of agents or investigative power."

Senior Writer
Based in Silicon Valley, Debbie was a founding member of Ziff Davis Media's Sm@rt Partner, where she developed investigative projects and wrote a column on start-ups. She has covered the high-tech industry since 1994 and has also worked for Minnesota Public Radio, covering state politics. She has written freelance op-ed pieces on public education for the San Jose Mercury News, and has also won several national awards for her work co-producing a documentary. She has a B.A. from Minnesota State University.


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