FBI tech money safe

The FBI will not cut other information technology initiatives to fund cost overruns of the bureau's Trilogy project, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers April 10.

"Every dollar I can put into advances in information technology, I will put into it," Mueller told the Senate Appropriations Committee's Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Subcommittee. "I'm very loath to take money away from information technology for anything else."

The $458 million Trilogy modernization has seen a $138 million cost overrun. Congress told FBI officials to find the money in their budget, and FBI officials have said they are reprioritizing their projects. Despite a statement from an FBI official that said IT projects would see less funding, Mueller assured lawmakers that wasn't the case and said the official was misquoted.

Congress had requested that the FBI detail where the $138 million would come from in their budget, and Mueller said that reprogramming request has been drafted and is currently at the Justice Department. He said the money would come from "unobligated balances from the emergency supplemental and reallocation from funds available, not funds set aside for information technology."

"I was and I am tremendously frustrated at the fact that our information technology is not where I want it or need it to be today," Mueller said. "We have to make certain the pieces are well thought out and fit into the overall architecture."

FBI officials have said the original plan for Trilogy was less complex than the current version, and other capabilities and network sites were added. This accounts for most of the cost increase.

"I will take responsibility for the overruns," Mueller told lawmakers. "Our plans and what we budgeted for would be adequate for [accomplishing] the mission."

The Trilogy network was completed last month and the virtual case file system is slated to be completed in December.


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