Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2006

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Newsweek
251 W. 57th St.
New York , NY 10019

To the Editor:

While we do respect the long tradition of columnists taking news stories and turning them into commentary, calling FBI information technology "a dangerous disgrace" and "the FBI's continued technological incompetence is putting American at risk" is not only wrong but is a disservice to your readers.

For the record, the FBI has a highly functional, modern, closed and secure system that allows agents and support employees to communicate on a classified level, worldwide. E-mail, photo, video and case document transmission is available to everyone and very much the norm. From the New York office to the agent stationed in the embassy in Sana’a, information is transmitted and exchanged over this network 24/7. Agents assigned to priority programs have laptops and blackberries tied into the FBI network. In addition, our Investigative Data Warehouse, a computer system developed in-house, with off-the-shelf software connects over a billion counter terrorism records, and the Automated Case Support System, cross indexing everything from a major suspect to an obscure name found on the back of scrap-paper in an Afghan cave to a suspicious financial transaction report filed with the Treasury Department. It also searches across data in forty other federal agencies to "connect the dots". These tools and others, developed since 9/11, available to agents and analysts across the country and around the world, have helped thwart a number of terrorist plots in the U.S. over the past five years. In fact, just in the past year, terrorist plans in Torrance , Calif. , Atlanta, New York, Washington, Miami, and Toledo, Ohio, were detected and disrupted. The FBI also played a key role in the interdiction of plots in the U.K, Canada, Bosnia and a number of places that cannot be disclosed because operations continue.

Yes, after 911, there was a major push, one driven by urgency, which failed to deliver an effective case management tool. The Director has more than once publicly taken responsibility for that. Studies done after the fact found that at the time, the FBI simply did not have an internal structure that could support program management of such a large and complex IT contract. Today we do. The FBI has a computer system that works as well as that in any major corporation. Two of the three stages of the "Trilogy" program were completed successfully as 30,000 desktops and laptops were successfully deployed on time and on budget to the field. While we were forced to go back to the drawing board on the third and very important pillar of Trilogy, the case management function, we have taken significant steps to ensure that the mistakes of the past—by all parties—will not be repeated. A new team of IT experts, together with a program management and oversight team, is ensuring the performance of the vendors. While we would like to have the final stage of Trilogy tomorrow, we are a vastly different information management organization than at the time of 9/11 with an unprecedented array of counterterrorism and intelligence tools. While we are not quite where we want to be, America is far from American being at risk—our country is safer today than ever before.

John Miller
Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Office of Public Affairs



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