FBI director details improvements

The FBI has made significant progress modernizing its information technology infrastructure, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers March 27.

The bureau's wide-area network, part of the Trilogy modernization project, is expected to come online by the end of the month, linking 21,025 computers in 622 FBI locations, Mueller told the House Appropriations Committee's Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Subcommittee.

Ninety-two percent of the FBI's U.S. employees are on the Trilogy system, he said, and the enterprise operations center, which manages the data network, hardware and software applications and security access, will become operational this spring.

"We are now focused on implementing corporate data warehousing capability that is key to FBI intelligence, investigative and information sharing initiatives as well as to our records management system," Mueller said in testimony.

This integrated data warehouse will link 31 FBI databases for searching through a single portal, he said. Trilogy computers and networks will support "state-of-the art applications," Mueller said, and a collaborative capabilities program will support data sharing with other agencies.

Of the total $4.6 billion fiscal 2004 budget request, $82 million is included for technology refreshments and operations maintenance, money Mueller said was necessary to preserve the investments. In the past, the FBI has been criticized for out-dated and ineffective IT, and the Trilogy project has come under fire for cost overruns and poor management.

"These resources will ensure that the equipment we have deployed stays in good working order, and that it is replaced in an orderly manner," he said in testimony. "The FBI can never again allow its equipment to become obsolete."

The budget request also includes $234.4 million to protect against cyberattacks and technology crimes. The funding would cover adding agents and increasing the technical capabilities of computer instruction squads.

Mueller told lawmakers that the FBI has created a new division at headquarters to support investigations into Internet-facilitated crimes and coordinate public and private technical expertise to support investigators.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing explosive growth in cybercrime — both traditional crimes such as fraud and copyright infringement that have migrated online and new crimes like computer intrusions and denial-of-service attacks," Mueller said in testimony.

Although terrorists have only posed low-level cyberthreats, he said, some organizations are increasing their use of technology for communication.

Commenting on the cybercrime division's progress, Mueller said the division has identified 2,554 compromised computers and its investigations have resulted in 95 convictions and $186 million in restitutions. And, in 2002, the Innocent Images National Initiative, which aims to identify and arrest online sexual predators, has resulted in 692 arrests, 648 indictments and 646 convictions.

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