IT key to FBI mission, director tells Senate

FBI Director Louis Freeh told a Senate committee today that investing in technology will be key to fulfilling the agency's mission next year.

Freeh, speaking before the Senate subcommittee on Justice Department appropriations, said the FBI is asking Congress to fund a host of information technology initiatives that will improve both the FBI's ability to store and access information and its ability to solve computer-related crimes.

Freeh said spending on technology initiatives will help not only the FBI but other law-enforcement officials who use FBI information and resources to investigate crimes. "Technology will impact more directly on law enforcement than on most sectors of our government," Freeh said. "This is not just technology which goes to and then resonates in the FBI."

Among the IT-related requests:

* $58.8 million for an Information Sharing Initiative that will be based on commercial off-the-shelf IT products and that will allow investigators to share case-file information more easily.

* $9.86 million to hire and train 79 new computer forensic examiners who will focus on computer crimes.

* Five positions and $5.34 million to develop a Federal Convicted Offenders DNA database.

* 89 new staff members for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for running checks on gun buyers.

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