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The FBI's turn in the WP

Last month, the Homeland Security Department had its turn on the front page of the Washington Post. [See "DHS tech gets Posted."] This morning, it was the FBI's turn -- a story about its ongoing IT problems.

FBI Pushed Ahead With Troubled Software [WP, 6.6.2005, registration required]
Report indicates bureau ignored warnings on flawed project that ultimately cost taxpayers more than $100 million in wasted expenditures.

The story is interesting... and one that we have been following closely, of course. (I'm sure the FBI must love being thought of in the same breath as the IRS when it comes to troubled tech programs.)

Here was a graph that caught me, however.
More problems -- this time "technical and functional deficiencies" -- became apparent in December 2003, when SAIC delivered its first batch of software to the FBI. By March 2004, the FBI had "identified 400 problems but did not share them with SAIC because it did not want the contractor to think these were the only issues remaining," the report says. About the same time, an official in the bureau's Cyber Division "voiced serious concerns" about the status of the project and recommended an independent review.

These internal debates and concerns stand in contrast to public assurances from FBI officials during the same period. For example, Zalmai Azmi -- the FBI's new information technology chief and the fourth person to occupy the position during the VCF project -- predicted in April 2004 that the first version of VCF would be delivered by the end of the year.

Federal Sources, the market research firm, is sponsoring a breakfast on June 17 featuring FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi and I will be fascinated to hear what he has to say about this particular issue.

So... FBI officials knew there were problems and didn't say anything? Is this a regular occurance? I'd be fascinated to hear what others think.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 06, 2005 at 12:14 PM


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