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FBI Delays Computer-System Contract

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the can-i-do-nothing-for-that-much-money dept.

United States 112

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "The FBI postponed until 2006 the awarding of a huge computer-overhaul contract, gun-shy after a $170 million failed first effort, the Wall Street Journal reports: 'Much is riding on the project's success. Congress and other overseers pilloried the FBI for its reliance on paper records, forms and file cabinets. The FBI only last year completed the rollout of the Internet to its agents and analysts. And even though the bureau installed a computerized case-management system in the mid-1990s, it relied largely on aging, less-agile technology to do so. And it did little to eliminate the department's notorious number of paper forms -- currently numbering more than 1,000.'"

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remember (2, Insightful)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175056)

Government Pork: not just for defense contractors anymore!

Re:remember (2, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175068)

EXTRA! Waste, ineptness, redundancy and laziness not limited to the private sector!

Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175106)

Homeland security is so much more important these days especially when we're fighting Rumsfeld's wars on the cheap anyway. Who cares about armored humvees, body armor and dead marines as long as we can spy on our citizens?

Canada's Pork can beat that easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175332)

The Canadian government has spent close to 2 billion dollars [www.cbc.ca] CDN$ (~ 1.5 billion US$) on a national computerized gun registry - basically a glorified database with a web front end. The joke is - it still does not work! You should be thankful in the United States that at least you have some form of checks and balances and know when to cut your losses.

Re:Canada's Pork can beat that easily (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176233)

Even better, it was supposed to cost 2 million C$ (with an m) when it first started. It sort of got a bit over budget.

remember-Kosher Government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14176302)

"Government Pork: not just for defense contractors anymore!"

Thankfully Israel doesn't have this problem.

There goes (1)

Touisteur (857728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175066)

There goes my dream of a better world where human bureaucracy would be reduced to minimum : "hello, good day Sir"...

The cheapest solution is readily available! (0, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175070)

Disband the FBI.

The U.S. Constitution has no provision for a federal police force, in fact, it is very against a federal military to be used against the state's citizens.

The FBI has been found to destroy constitutional protections at will, and that is only when we've caught them.

The FBI has historically been used as a fear tactic against the citizen base. They warred against the Black Panthers, and your parents or grandparents might remember the famous "an FBI agent behind every mailbox" line that was often quoted.

What is the solution for "policing" interstate offense? Primarily it should be left to the individual cities. Offer private security companies to create a secondary network to allow police stations to communicate. The systems are there.

The great thing about dumping the FBI's powers into the local level is that every citizen can monitor what their government is spending and doing. The FBI hides behind official securities regulations, and the FOIA doesn't help. We're looking at a grossly overbudgeted organization that isn't even legal or needed by this country. How about putting a few grand back in everyone's pocket and letting the cities decide how badly they want to monitor criminals that decide to move elsewhere.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175093)

They also largely eliminated kidnapping-for-ransom because they have a 100% rate of catching criminals in those cases.

They are the numero-uno agency in charge kidnapping cases, and are very very good at it.

Besides, without them criminals could play hopscotch and avoid effecting law enforcement by skipping across state lines.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176951)

"They also largely eliminated kidnapping-for-ransom because they have a 100% rate of catching criminals in those cases.

They are the numero-uno agency in charge kidnapping cases, and are very very good at it.

Besides, without them criminals could play hopscotch and avoid effecting law enforcement by skipping across state lines."


They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.

- Benjamin Franklin

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175107)

Good luck. With some 25,000 federal laws on the books, someone has to enforce them. I'm sure jaywalking will be a federal offense soon, too.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175171)

Of those laws, 24,997 of them are likely unconstitutional.

Federal crimes that are in the domain of a federal police force are counterfeiting, piracy on the high seas, and treason. The last crime is one we should be using against those making the other 24,997 laws on the books.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

Vengie (533896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175203)

Dada21, meet the necessary and proper clause. When combined with the commerce clause......

Your point of attack should be the commerce clause. Not the necessary and proper clause. However, once the commerce clause grants legitimacy, the NP clause actually *expands* congressional power. (i.e. NP is expansive, not restrictive)

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175247)

The necessary and proper clause (the so-called "elastic" clause) is very troubling to pro-freedom advocates. Hamilton and Jefferson battled over this clause (I believe it was aIs8p18 in the Constitution) but upon reading and re-reading it, you can definitely tell that the clause was only in regard to the government performing the actions enumerated to the federal government, not just any action they want to. I would definitely rewrite it in Constitution v3.0.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

Vengie (533896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175260)

Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland: ''Let the end be legitimate,'' he wrote, ''let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.''

He foreshadowed this in United States v Fischer: ''The government is to pay the debt of the Union, and must be authorized to use the means which appear to itself most eligible to effect that object. It has, consequently, a right to make remittance, by bills or otherwise, and to take those precautions which will render the transaction safe.''

Even Scalia thinks you're wrong....

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175554)

Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland: "The power to tax involves the power to destroy."

Do you even know what McCullock v. Maryland was about? It was about a State attempting to tax a Federal institution. Marshall was greatly concerned that if a State might trump the Feds, the Supremacy Clause could be in danger. Of COURSE a Federal judge would worry about that. Also, in MvM the Federal institution at hand was the Central Bank -- the worse institution ever created. It is, at heart, one of the primary causes of the stock market bubble, the housing bubble, and the tax-bracket fraud that the feds cause on the unknowing citizens.

U.S. v. Fisher is a case where Marshall may have partially upheld his Constitutional oath. I believe (from memory) that this case was regarding bankruptcy and debt and forcing the U.S. to the top of the chain in who collects debts from the bankrupt.

You can blame the Supreme Court in the past 100 years for much of the damage done to the Constitution. I really don't understand, if treason is punishable by death, and violating the oath to uphold the Constitution is treason, why haven't we had more hangings in Washington these past 100 years?

That isn't treason (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175727)

You can blame the Supreme Court in the past 100 years for much of the damage done to the Constitution. I really don't understand, if treason is punishable by death, and violating the oath to uphold the Constitution is treason, why haven't we had more hangings in Washington these past 100 years?

Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

All three branches of the US government have done many things that are unconstitutional. However little of it qualifies as treason, which is strictly defined for good reason - treason was abused when the constitution was written.

Note that I said all three branches are guilty? The supream court is least guilty of it. They still rule many things that are against the constitution.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175114)

Now who would have modded PARENT as FUNNY????

Only someone.... someone from the F...B...(oh crap)

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (5, Interesting)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175120)

Actually, when the FBI started, they were not a police force. FBI agents were not allowed to carry guns, and the FBI was largely a small agency used to coordinate local police forces investigations for crime that crossed state borders. If the FBI was downsized to it's very limited non-law-enforcement role, it would arguably be constitutional.

The FBI is only as good as its director (1)

ATeamMrT (935933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175136)

We should have a committee directing the FBI, and not just 1 person. Perhaps the president can appoint one member, with the consent of the Senate. Maybe a second member can be appointed by the conference of Governors. That way the states will have some oversight into what Big Brother is doing.

Bwahahahaha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175153)

Yeah, right. Disband FBI and we'd have serious crime out of control in no time.

If the feds are not constitutional it's about time for an amendment. State cops might be fine when it comes to hauling your local wife-beating trailer trash to the closest drunk tank on a saturday night, but when it comes to serious crime, let the feds handle it. FBI might be many things, but at least they are a professional law-enforcement organization.

Re:Bwahahahaha! (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175195)

I don't know if professional and law enforcement can go hand-in-hand without oversight. Every professional out there has competition, peer review and at the very least a very open disclosure of what they've done. The FBI has none. Not very professional to me.

I don't believe the country will fall into massive crime. People, in general, follow the law (even criminals!). Skipping from town to town committing crimes is a very expensive venture, one that petty thieves generally don't do. Being a full-time criminal is not profitable in the least. If you're talking about other crimes, I'd like to know what crimes the FBI fights that couldn't be covered by local law enforcement, or even a state agency.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1, Offtopic)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175175)

there are a number of US agencies that defy all that is constitutional in the US. Why complain only about the FBI? Don't Americans have the CIA, the IRS, the Military, MiB and others to deal with? All of these groups take federal cash dollars and $pend without constraint, all the while never having to face prosecution because they are government agencies.

For a country that preaches Freedom, you guys sure are well controlled.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175206)

Don't Americans have the CIA, the IRS, the Military, MiB and others to deal with?

Yes, there is a covert agency who get jiggy with it whilst protecting the earth from the scum of the universe.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175285)

Well it all goes back to the civil war, which we lost. I don't mean southern slave-owning segregationists, though they lost too. The price of their loss though was the death of Federalism in the US.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175666)

The price of their loss though was the death of Federalism in the US.

Dude, Federalism WON over state's rights in the civil war. A single overriding authority can supercede that of a sovereign sub authority.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

ionpro (34327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176135)

Federalism: A form of political organization in which governmental power is divided between a central government and territorial subdivisions--in the United States, among the national, state, and local governments.

People who say Federalism lost in the civil war claim that the state and local governments now have no power; that the Federal government controls all. This is, of course false, but Federalism == State's Rights.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176643)

I don't know about no power, but we are evolving in that direction. What I meant was that the idea of federalism has passed. The new paradigm is somewhat nationalistic, with ever more problems being addressed at the federal level, appropriately or not.

The recent battles over the supreme court are a symptom of this: It wouldn't matter who sat on the court if they weren't a place to establish national policy.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175532)

Please don't take what follows as a flame. It's what I saw and experienced.

For a country that preaches Freedom, you guys sure are well controlled.

I have to agree. As a citizen of ROTW (Rest Of The World), the 8 months I lived in the USA was an amazing experience.

I had people tell me that you have the Right to Bear Arms so you can rise up and shoot your politicians, which I applaud, yet everyone who's tried gets arrested or assassinated.

Just after the walls stopped shaking from a flight of F14s passing very low overhead I had someone tell me how lucky we were to be near them - "It makes you feel safe".

I saw neighbours presenting a petition of complaint to their neighbour because his door was a different colour! This was in Rancho Penasquitos, where there are rows of houses that all look nearly identical. And this is a Wealthy suburb!

My six year old son had to sign a contract that he wouldn't bring guns or drugs to school!

Disneyland was of course the epitome of control. I was astonished by the Stormtroopers in their uniforms enforcing the rules - lines had to be straight, no standing on the grass, or leaning against a fence. I was admonished for having my 3yo son sit on my shoulders to watch the parade, even though we were at the BACK of the crowd!

Nowhere in the world (apart from Japan) where I've been have I seen people who spend so much time standing in lines.

And it's not just the Men in Gray Suits who enforce these rules - as a society I saw many times where the people would castigate someone who broke one of these rules - particularly rules about standing in lines and related crimes.

We went camping at a lake somewhere in California with some friends. We had other campers complain to me that my tent wasn't lined up properly! We had people complain that our kids were too noisy at mealtime - this is at 5pm, and we're talking about a 3yo and 6yo here!

My wife, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, got kicked out of a swimming pool for going down the ramp instead of the stairs!

From what we saw, almost any white American seemed to be infected with this extreme legalism. It seemed that amongst the people of colour, only the poorest people seemed to actually have any freedom in any sense, although they were struggling with poverty that I frankly didnt expect in a country like the USA.

I also noticed that all the teenagers I saw looked stressed or stoned. I think it was something to do with all the rules.

I've also noticed a lot of Americans who come to my country claim that they love the fact that everyone is so relaxed. I think it's because we have a lot more practical freedom, even without legal Rights such as we keep hearing about from you poor Americans.

I found the USA quite Orwellian. It's as if you've all been told so many times "You are Free! You are the Most Free!" that you believe it. This is possibly not so surprising, since for most of you it's all you've ever known.

I met a whole group of people in La Jolla that were living in their cars - a family to each car. They told me that they were living like this because they got in trouble due to their credit cards, and they spend the nights around La Jolla because it's a really safe area. I still remember the confusion on their faces when I pointed out that in Cuba they'd be provided with housing (not nice housing by any means, but walls and a roof at least!) in their situation (I am not a citizen of Cuba btw.). They said to me "But at least we're free here!", as they tucked blankets around their kids stacked in the back seat of their Mercedes. Is that freedom? Slavery to a finacial and economic machine such that middle class family people live in cars parked on the side of the road because there's no effective Social Security system to protect them?

At risk of being very trollish, I'd also like to point out that the above are all reasons why the Rest Of The World don't want American culture to invade their countries. Most of us simply don't want your brand of Freedom, as we're quite happy with our own.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175594)

Great post. When the lady and I are out "doing the town" (we travel a LOT), it seems we're the only two smiling. I smile ALL THE TIME because I'm happy. I look around and all I see are unhappy people. At the airport a few weeks back (O'hare International Terminal) I was smiling and looked at one of the security guards and he aked me why I was smiling.

For the past 10 years I've fought to keep my freedom, but as things get worse (and they are) we've been traveling more looking for more freedom. I found it in Dubai (one of the freest cities in the world and most prosperous for all) which is smack dab in the Middle East. I found more freedom in Asia, in Australia, even in socialist countries in Europe.

What I saw, even more importantly, were people smiling. I once went an entire warm afternoon in downtown San Diego without seeing ONE person crack a smile. Orwellian indeed.

Good comment.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176350)

Interesting, you must be blind while in the U.S.

I too smile all the time, and indeed, my friend in San Diego does the same, yep, she smiles all the time too. She moved to San Diego cause most of the people there smile all the time. Its quite a lot like Tempe, AZ as well. We're a happy bunch in the southwest.

Might add I'm from VT where they are also a happy bunch. I guess you make your environment what you want it to be.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175778)

Wow! I live in the US, and I have never see it that bad. I know the neighborhoods you speak of though. In several cases they are telling you something that just isn't true. (sadly not all, some places do have rules about what color you paint your door - I refuse to live in them, as does most of the US. Most people who live in such areas don't care, but there is always one, and the rest are just guilty of ignoring them)

The US is a large country. California is not representative of the rest of the country. Think of each state as a different county. You wouldn't make broad statements about Spain based on a trip to Finland, likewise don't make broad statements about the US, or even any one state based on a visit to California.

Though I would note that there are unwritten rules that make society function better. Standing in lines is not enjoyable, but if everyone waits their turn nicely the experience of everyone is equally bad, while if you don't form nice lines some people get it worse. If you head to areas where there are less people you will find that it is universal that people will let you go in front of them in line when you have much less than they do.

Of course if you were in California to go to Disneyland, you should be aware that standing in lines is part of their scam - a lot of people can be held in a line, you have paid your admission, then want you to be in lines nearly all the time where you don't cost much.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14176316)

I didnt go there to go to Disneyland - we stopped in there 2 days on our way home actually.

And I saw a lot of the USA in 8 months (not all of course). Calfornia is of course a pretty wierd place by anyone's standards, but I also saw Arizona, Texas, Florida, Illinois (sp?), Colorado, Utah, Washington State and some of those pretty (as in lovely to look at!) little states up in the NE corner, and the legalism and "rules fetish" seemed to exist in all those places.

Of course, I was mainly mixing with only a few cultural groups (middle class whites wanting to invest in IT), but I used to wander about and try to meet people in as many walks of life as possible (and I found a few places where a white foreigner certainly should NOT go, but that's another story), so I didnt get a completely one-dimensional view.

I live in the US, and I have never see it that bad.

This is I think a result of living in the culture you live in. Similarly, I can't see the evils of Socialism that Americans see - I live in a Socialist country. What we live in we tend to see as "normal", and as the yardstick against which other cultures should be measured. Mind you, people who live in RSA tend to see the Car Jacking as bad, and people I know from Zimbabwe (black and white) don't think that what's happening there is a good thing, but as a general rule (and as such not always) I think the pattern holds, that we have great difficulty seeing ythe failings of our own culture.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177438)

Spain and Finland are completely different countries with different languages and cultures. The United States is one country with one language and culture and to an extent it's not surprising that you would be judged in that way. I'm used to foreigners thinking that London is the whole British experience when in fact it's an overcrowded shit hole full of rude people and the rest of the country is a lot nicer.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175655)

Well the constitution doesn't really allow for a standing army.

Section. 8
Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Section. 10
Clause 3: No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Reading closely, the Army (milltia) belongs to the states, but congress can call them as needed. Congress can also allocate supplies. An army may be funded, but only for 2 years at a time. When compared with the language used for the Navy, it is clear that a standing army is not what is intended. Though it is also clear the the milltia is not state troops, but the common people which the state trains.

Section. 8
Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The IRS is legal - congress can collect taxes, and the IRS is the agency that is allowed to collect taxes. I don't think we should have an IRS, but it is legal - my argument is against the taxes they collect.

Section. 2.
Clause 2: He [the president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The CIA can (with the concent of congress) fit into all other officers who shall be established as law. While you can argue that the US shouldn't have spies, it is clear from the rest of the constitution that if the US has them, they belong on the federal level. I think your argument that the CIA is illegal is wrong, but it is clearly the case where your argument is strongest.

I'm not sure what you mean when you refer to MiB, so I won't comment.

The US constitution [house.gov] is a very readable document. If you are a citizen of the US you should read it from time to time to remind yourself what it says. Obviously slashdot has an international audience, so I can't blame the parent for not knowing it (I don't know foreign governments well either).

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177196)

For a country that preaches Freedom, you guys sure are well controlled.

Thank you! That just became my current favorite quote on Slashdot!

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175272)

The U.S. Constitution has no provision for a federal police force

While you are at it, why don't you Americans just give up on being a country? Be sure to let the rest of us know, so we can send out extra ambassadors, etc.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175340)

Heh, FBI is not only a US internal problem, its the way US Gov is policing the world. There are FBI in many other countries. They are the "World Police Agency" nowdays..btw, KTH is mirroring the official fbi.gov site in Sweden...anyone in sweden can verify by making a simple traceroute (tracert in windows). Thats kinda "uhh"...what kind of other cooperating do they have?

My favorite (2, Insightful)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175356)

This was on a sign outside a town in a game I played once and I really liked it:

"Stranger, obey our laws. We have both swords and shovels and doubt anyone would miss you."

Frankly, I think that's how we ought to handle crimnals that move about. I do see a need for Federal agents for things like Immigration. Instead of disbanding the FBI completely, let's just transfer the funding and field agents to "La Migra" & the Customs Service. That ought to give us a nice handle in controlling illegal immigration, looking for terrorists trying to sneak into the country, people trying to smuggle goods, etc. which is basically what the FBI was supposed to be doing in the first place.

2 cents,

Queen B

Re:My favorite (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175473)

That ought to give us a nice handle in controlling illegal immigration, looking for terrorists trying to sneak into the country, people trying to smuggle goods

What about all the home grown terrorists? Do you expect state police to follow them around?

Re:My favorite (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175567)

Considering all our homegrown terrorists are angry over the unconstitutionality of this government, I don't think you can really believe that having the FBI makes us safer.

Were the soldiers in the War for Independence terrorists?

Re:My favorite (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175712)

Considering all our homegrown terrorists are angry over the unconstitutionality of this government

The only domestic US terrorist I can think of who was capable of really comprehending a national constitution beyond the level of rehashed slogans was the unabomber. He didn't seem to have any problem with the existance of the FBI.

Re:My favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175625)

fucking jews

Re:My favorite (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176602)

This was on a sign outside a town in a game I played once and I really liked it:

"Stranger, obey our laws. We have both swords and shovels and doubt anyone would miss you."

Frankly, I think that's how we ought to handle crimnals that move about.


You already have the death penalty. What more do you want? That sign sounds more like a call for vigilantism, if something bad happens while you're in town we're going to blame it on you and string you up in nearest tree. Who's going to complain?

Kjella

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (3, Informative)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175437)

The U.S. Constitution has no provision for a federal police force, in fact, it is very against a federal military to be used against the state's citizens

"To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;"
"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;"
"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

The FBI is an extenstion (specifically the enforcement arm) of the Department of Justice. It is needed for interstate legal issues, that are unable to be covered by individual states (eg wire fraud).

What is the solution for "policing" interstate offense? Primarily it should be left to the individual cities. Offer private security companies to create a secondary network to allow police stations to communicate. The systems are there.

The Constitution specifically addresses interstate issues by placing them under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. You can't just assign them to individual states or municipalities

The great thing about dumping the FBI's powers into the local level is that every citizen can monitor what their government is spending and doing. The FBI hides behind official securities regulations, and the FOIA doesn't help

Because trying to coordinate things would be a disaster. Try running a kidnapping or mail fraud investigation across several states, where each state has to provide resources for the investigation pertaining to their particular state. So instead of one group freely travelling across state lines investigating the issue, you're trying to coordinate multiple groups all with limited knowledge of the evidence.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175633)

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;"

Congress sets treaties here, not laws to be enforced by the military.

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;"

The militia run by each independent state. The laws of the union: counterfeit, treason, and piracy. Also for defending against offense ON OUR SOIL. This clause reminds me how unconstitutional our military is, on top of the FBI.

Department of Justice

The DoJ isn't constitutional! The founding of the DoJ (1870ish) happened in order to create a more powerful central authority. It was created after Lincoln won his illegal War between States in order to create a strong federal government. Lincoln campaigned for a stronger central government and the South threatened to secede if he won (they knew he would tax them in order to build his empire). Lincoln hated blacks and had no opinion on slavery.

The Constitution specifically addresses interstate issues by placing them under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. You can't just assign them to individual states or municipalities

Regulating the states means making sure no state attempts to prevent trade between themselves and another. It doesn't mean taking over what two states could normally accomplish together (and often do).

Try running a kidnapping or mail fraud investigation across several states, where each state has to provide resources for the investigation pertaining to their particular state. So instead of one group freely travelling across state lines investigating the issue, you're trying to coordinate multiple groups all with limited knowledge of the evidence

One unconstitutional group freely travels to handle kidnapping, all the while creating havoc and performing oppresive actions against its citizens.

Kidnapping should be handled by private investigators paid for by insurance companies, not federal thug who rarely solve the crimes anyway. I'm shocked that citizens today really feel safer with the FBI breathing down our necks.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175976)

So only the rich with insurance would be able get their loved ones back? Like it or not the military, FBI, DOJ all exist because they are necessary. This country would fall apart without a central authority. I think the civil war proved that.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14179344)

All the Civil War proved is that the central authority is willing to destroy the country in order to perpetuate itself and expand its power.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14179541)

Congress sets treaties here, not laws to be enforced by the military.

"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States"

Also for defending against offense ON OUR SOIL. This clause reminds me how unconstitutional our military is, on top of the FBI.

It does not specify "on our soil", it gives authority to "execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions," without instructions on how it should be done. Further the Constitution specifies:

"To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations"

Late 20th century, US foreign policy is based on the premise that instability in other parts of the world can eventually impact the US homeland. You can disagree with it (especially Bush's interpretation), but it is Constitutional.

Lincoln campaigned for a stronger central government and the South threatened to secede if he won (they knew he would tax them in order to build his empire).

As was demonstrated by the failure of the Articles of Confederation, and the US Civil war, without strong central government the US would fall apart.

Lincoln hated blacks and had no opinion on slavery.

I agree, slavery served as a pawn in his plan to strengthen the federal goverment.

Regulating the states means making sure no state attempts to prevent trade between themselves and another. It doesn't mean taking over what two states could normally accomplish together (and often do).

No, regulation means regulation. The ability to establish uniform codes, create a common currency, control how states trade with each other, establish laws governing trade which no state individually can address.

Kidnapping should be handled by private investigators paid for by insurance companies, not federal thug who rarely solve the crimes anyway. I'm shocked that citizens today really feel safer with the FBI breathing down our necks.

What about wire fraud, identity theft, tax evation, Enron, bribery. There are alot of crimes across state lines that cannot be addressed by individual state laws. And for the most part citzens get into problems with local and state authorities, rather than the FBI, so I would hardly describe them as "breathing down our necks".

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (2, Insightful)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175547)

The U.S. Constitution has no provision for
And the framers clearly anticipated every eventuality that 200 years would bring. The constitution has no explicit provision for freedom of publishing your thoughts on the internet, either. You should be glad that this is considered "speech" or "the press" and that the constitution was amended to include such rights.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175648)

and that the constitution was amended to include such rights.

No, it wasn't. The rights that the Amendments cover are protected by the Amendments, but they've always been there. They added the Bill of Rights in fear that down the road the central government would trample them. Guess what? Every right protected in the Bill of Rights has been destroyed already. They are basic human rights that no government can take away.

In 200 years, not ONE new technology or idealogy has surfaced that the Constitution does not completely cover. Name one. You can't.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176006)

I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court has had to make dozens if not hundreds of decisions regarding such things as video, internet communications and the like were covered under the first amendment so I'd say that the Constitution never really covered them until the Supreme Court felt it should (and rightfully so). I doubt the framers ever intended for DVDs of hardcore pornography to be protected...and would probably be the ones making the laws againsts them today if they were alive.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14176306)

Actually. The Supreme Court decides how to interpert laws. So at some point they said "Freedom of Press means that people can freely post on the internet". They also decided that the infamous yelling of "fire" in a crowded theatre would not be covered.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176058)

In 200 years, not ONE new technology or idealogy has surfaced that the Constitution does not completely cover. Name one. You can't.
Steamboats. [oyez.org] If things were clearer, the commerce clause would only cover interstate tariffs, not all the other stuff now extrapolated. Wiretaps [oyez.org] . If things were clearer, wiretaps might actually have been judged to be prohibited by the 4th.

You can't possibly claim that the constitution clearly covered all eventualities without being subject to some debate over its intent or explicit prohibitions. The framers didn't think so-- that's why there's a Supreme Court.

Re:The cheapest solution is readily available! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175572)

The FBI serves a number of important functions other than those duties that people tend to find "unconstitutional". The fact is it is crucial that the Federal Government has an investigative branch to investigate such issues as counter-intelligence, cybercrime prevention, enforcing interstate corporate law and preventing white collar crime, preventing terrorist activities and handling a number of other situations which local and state law enforcement simply does not have the jurisdiction to handle.

There is no way anything other than a federal agency can work on counter-intelligence and the CIA and military both are only used outside the country because of their heavy handed methods which shouldn't be used against the citizenry.

Cybercrime crosses all state and even country boundaries making it extremely difficult for a state agency to pusue criminals in another state. Also, the average state or local agency doesn't have the resources neccessary to carry out effective cybercrime investigations on the scale that are needed. In fact, even the FBI has inadequate resources to police anything but the tip of the cybercrime iceberg.

Corporations can easily hide illegal activity by spreading out the information neccessary to discover the crimes across several states so that no single state would have the authority to gather all the information needed to prosecute the company. The same applies to white collar crime commited by those who work in corporations.

Local and state governments also don't have access to the neccessary information to effectivly track down potential terrorists and prevent their activities. They don't have access to other state's information and they don't have access to a number of federally regulated, top secret technologies and information which is only disclosed to state and local agencies when it is known to be neccessary.

Overall, the problem is not the FBI as much as it is legislation that people have a problem with. People do not like the way the FBI uses the rights granted to it, or more specifically they don't like the idea of how the FBI could use those rights. The obvious solution is to fight the laws, not the FBI.

It is true the FBI has abused its power or gone beyond its power in the past, however that is true of any law enforcement agency. A degree of corruption is inevitable in any group of people with power. The key to minimize it is supervision. This is another reason that the removal of the FBI is a horrible idea. As I have previously explained, state and local government don't have the sufficient resources or information to handle the role currently held by the FBI. If you were to give those agencies the neccessary power, information and resources to do this job, they would all be equally open to corruption and abuse of the new power they would be granted. At that point you now have 50 different agencies (assuming only state agencies get the FBI's current authority) which would all require more oversite rather than only one. Also you would have 50 different agencies which would have to try to coordinate information to get anything done rather than only having to move information within one organization.

Efficient computers for the FBI? (3, Funny)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175096)

Wait, I thought we WANTED them using yesterday's technology and losing efficiency to it? Remember, these are the folks who spy on our emails, who can perform searches without warrants nowadays... we want them at least two steps behind the citizenry.

Re:Efficient computers for the FBI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14176948)

parent mod could get +5 for Insightful as well

FBI = Famous But Incompetent (-1, Troll)

HooliganIntellectual (856868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175102)

Abolish the FBI! A free society has no place for a secret government organization which spies on its citizens.

Re:FBI = Famous But Incompetent (0, Flamebait)

Abuzar (732558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176735)

I fail to see how this is a troll. I agree with it, and it's somewhat on topic. Some of the mods out there need to learn how to be objective.

Wow! Someone has delayed his computer order! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175110)

How interesting. A police agency is delaying it's computer order.
Gee, next we'll have "an interesting report" about ./ admin who delayed his ibook order to wait for x86 macs?

Slashdot: "News for bored. Tinfoil that saddens."

huh? (3, Interesting)

stonefoz (901011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175111)

wasn't something put in with the patriot-act that dumped money in the fbi for a huge database overhall. something to enable crosschecks between agencies. if i'm not wrong, what else are they in need of updating?

Re:huh? (5, Informative)

bdot2 (164812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175207)

They spent over 105 million dollars on a software project called the "virtual case file" to support this. The project failed. IEEE Spectrum magazine has a long article that dissects the project in their September issue. Here is a link:

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/sep05/1455 [ieee.org]

It is an interesting and sad story.

Re:huh? (3, Insightful)

tootlemonde (579170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176232)

According the article, the FBI let its system stagnate and then tried to catch up all at once. The problem with this approach is that the legacy system continues to stagnate while the new one is under development. If there were any deficiencies in the new system or the new system fails altogether, the FBI is still stuck with the old system.

One lesson is, don't let your system stagnate. It must be in a state of continual and regular upgrade. The side effect of this approach might be the main benefit: you will have up-to-date internal knowledge of how your system works. You don't have to hire outside consultants that have to learn how your system works before they can begin to improve it.

Classic project failure (2, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178228)

Reads like a classic project failure, with the classic failed project start: It was managed by someone who created "their own" database. i.e. A manager who thinks he knows better than the experts being hired, who overrides their estimates and recommendations, and who blows off any technical issues they raise because he "did it himself" in less time with an underpowered single-user tool.

I've worked on three similar projects -- only one succeeded. The one success was because the manager in question got yanked half way through and there was still enough time for a competent manager to be hired who'd let the team do their job properly.

Just what we need... a uber database for FBI (4, Insightful)

ATeamMrT (935933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175209)

wasn't something put in with the patriot-act that dumped money in the fbi for a huge database overhall. something to enable crosschecks between agencies. if i'm not wrong, what else are they in need of updating?

We don't need to have every database cross checked. All we need is one FBI database for the dangerous criminals, the murderers and corporate criminals. Before long, states will check other states databases for minor criminal offenses. I'll give one example- try getting a job as a realtor. Arkansas will check their database to see if anyone is behind on payments for state guarenteed loans (like school loans). If you are, Arkansas will not give you a license. Oklahoma has the same law. What will happen the way the system is now, is the guy from Arkansas will move to Oklahoma and get a job there. By having every state cross check every other state, people will not be allowed to start over. Maybe Joe Sixpack went to State U, ran himself into $40,000 in debt, and feels he can never overcome such a large amount of debt.

Or what about minor crimes? What if someone at the age of 20 decided to join the Alabama KKK? That person never broke a crime, just went to protests and meetings. At age 24 the person quits, and two years later moves to New York. Should New York know about his prior membership because of some anti-terrorism database? I know what everyone is thinking, the KKK is bad, so screw that person. I'll give a counter example, same facts as above, but instead of KKK the person is a member of PETA where his cohorts raid a university research center and free test animals.

Are we still a free nation, or a nation where everyone has a history stored in a database?

What is going to happen is some start-up in Cali will offer a service, checking a person through every state and FBI database. Once that becomes profitable, forget about ever trying to get a job for more than minimum wage if you have a blemish on your record. It will be the same thing employers are doing with checking credit reports before hiring workers.

We need less databases, and more privacy laws.

Re:Just what we need... a uber database for FBI (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177282)

"That person never broke a crime, just went to protests and meetings."
 
What... does... that... mean?

Re:Just what we need... a uber database for FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14177998)

I think it's the opposite of committing a law.

Re:Just what we need... a uber database for FBI (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177439)

What if someone at the age of 20 decided to join the Alabama KKK? That person never broke a crime, just went to protests and meetings. At age 24 the person quits, and two years later moves to New York. Should New York know about his prior membership because of some anti-terrorism database? Why not? It's funny how "freedom" seems permanently entangled with "privacy" - there is, after all, the possibility of New York knowing, but not doing a damn thing about it. What's illegal, after all, should be discriminating based on such knowledge, rather than knowing at all. Or should be arrest staffers who happened to move between states, too?

Re:Just what we need... a uber database for FBI (1)

idokus (902277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178251)

We need less databases, and more privacy laws.

Well here in Europe, the European Council (or Commission, not that sure but doesn't really matter) are going towards exactly the opposite: more databases, and privacy laws are getting undermined

(thanks, Blair, Balkenende et al. we do appreciate your concerns for the public. Thanks, but no thanks.)

Already happening: Meet Charles "Roscoe" Heaton. (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14179118)


What is going to happen is some start-up in Cali will offer a service, checking a person through every state and FBI database. Once that becomes profitable, forget about ever trying to get a job for more than minimum wage if you have a blemish on your record.

Dude, you're describing the situation as it existed circa 1990, or even 1980. But it's 2005 now [almost 2006 - yikes!], and everything you've foreseen has come to pass.

Compare the story of Mr. Charles "Roscoe" Heaton:

Ex-con. Emory grad. Would you hire him?
Sunday, November 27, 2005

He thought he had paid his debt to society by serving two years in prison. He thought his accomplishments since would open doors to a successful future. But nine years after his release, Roscoe has found he's a marked man. His criminal record may be a life sentence...

http://www.ajc.com/sunday/content/epaper/editions/ sunday/news_34981681f67ca08200e2.html [ajc.com]

To his credit, Neal Boortz [boortz.com] has been all over this story [see also here [freerepublic.com] ].

Re:huh? (1)

vsprintf (579676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175514)

Here's a short summary [computerworld.com] without the depth of the IEEE article.

Efficiency (4, Funny)

mrogers (85392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175166)

It's good to know those forms will now be scanned in and turned into 1,000 PDFs. That should lead to an enormous increase in efficiency.

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175181)

It will probbly take $600,000 in consulting for a consultor to tell them they could digitize their forms and another $200,000,000 for them to actually digitize it. Then another $1,000,000 spent by Microsoft lobbying Congress to get FBI to change the format to Microsoft's instead.. well you get the picture of how government literally works..

Re:Efficiency (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175528)

I was thinking they could use Microsoft Word *.DOC files with 24-bit *.BMP graphics embedded in them.

Open Source Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14176451)

"It's good to know those forms will now be scanned in and turned into 1,000 PDFs. That should lead to an enormous increase in efficiency."

You better hope they don't discover Open Source, else the US is up the creek without a paddle.

Conspiracykiller (4, Funny)

slashedmydot (927745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175179)

When I watched The X-Files 10 years ago I thought: "this is bullshit, the government is way to incompetent for that kind of stuff".

These kind of screwups are very effective conspiracykillers...

Scully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175216)

I'd still do Scully any time, anywhere. God bless that red-headed MILF!

Re:Conspiracykiller (2, Funny)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175223)

Maybe that's just what they want you to believe. In fact, CmdrTaco is an FBI agent, carefully manipulating stories on /. to give the impression that the FBI is incompetent, but not so incompetent that you become suspicious.

</tinfoilhat> :)

Re:Conspiracykiller (1)

Inaffect (862616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175393)

* lights a cigarette in a dark room somewhere in DC *

You're absolutely right. So many files... so little time...

I hope that the fact of this inefficiency appeases your conscience. Of course, anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him, but we wouldn't do that, now would we? * puts out cigarette and walks into the shadows *

http://xfphotos.fredfarm.com/season1/pilot/pilot22 0.jpg [fredfarm.com]

When I watched "The Lone Gunmen" ... (1)

willtsmith (466546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176139)


"When I watched the Lone Gunman Pilot I thought ... this is bullshit. Than it happened on 9/11."

- Condaleeza Rice ;-)

A couple mac minis and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14175189)

FileMaker should do the job...

It's amazing (4, Interesting)

confusion (14388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175197)

It really is amazing that they can spend that kind of money and have nothing to show for it... All the while, they're hunting criminals trying to screw the government - sounds like they should look inside.

Jerry
http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]

They're waiting to give the bid to Microsoft. (3, Interesting)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175252)

Seriously. It looks like they are stonewalling for MSFT.

Replacing paper is not the solution (5, Insightful)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175505)

Years ago I arrived on Frankfurt airport on a flight from Bangkok. On arrival, it turned out that the local computer systems responsible for running all the gate assignments and platform traffic were down, and were not going to be up in the comming hours. As it turns out, the local airport staff had a complete paper based system in place still and managed to keep the place running with relatively little delay, thanks to tons of paper forms, and an obviously well thought out system that worked regardless of those computers (tho it is probably a lot cheaper and more efficient to run it with computers of course)

In other words, if your system is simply too complex to manage then you may have a problem right there. Throwing computer power at it to better keep track is no alternative to thinking up a better system, it is just a good tool for making it more efficient.

Of course using a more efficient system opens up new possibilities, thats not the point, but no number of computers is going to reduce 1000 forms to a more managable number by itself.

Re:Replacing paper is not the solution (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176489)

Reminds me of how NASCAR scores races.

At the most basic level, they have 43 driver representatives sitting in a room with a view of the track. They write down time off a big clock when their car crosses the line. This is level 1. All it requires is power for the clock.

Also on the desk is a button. They press it when their car crosses the line. Level 2. Requires the computer to work.

In each car there is a small radio transponder, and when they cross an antenna on the start / finish line, a event is recorded. Level 3. This is the data of record for the race.

Finally, every car has a GPS box, and samples are done five times a second (although this is used for fancy broadcast and internet graphics mostly). Level 4.

If any one of these systems fails up to pencil and paper, NASCAR can still score the race. It may not be pretty, but they can score the race.

Critical systems need redundancy, up to and including paper. The FBI should know this.

Re:Replacing paper is not the solution (1)

tuomoks (246421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176663)

One of ( if not the ) most insightful posts I have seen here. The old rule KISS ! Any and all systems should be designed to work with OR without computers. A computer is just a tool - my job, my profession, my paycheck, even my passion BUT anytime I see a system that will not work without computers ( slower, more pain, etc.. ) it is for me a failed design. Once again - this is insightful but unfortunately forgotten too many times. Now - of course, I'm a computer person and will never understand why these things are made so complicated - except maybe for money ??

Re:Replacing paper is not the solution (2, Insightful)

platypus (18156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177191)

Absolutely.

This is called Process Design.
Often in companies and big organisations, the Process Managers or
Process Designers are people not working in these processes once they
are in place. They just sit there, dreaming up nice theories about how things
could be more efficient or measurable - KPIs, "You can't manage what you can't
measure" and other bullshit is what you hear from them.

After that, a software is build to fit their strange requirements. Sooner or
later, this software meets reality, i.e. real users which will have to
live the processes and maybe introduced their own shortcuts and simplifications,
which now won't work anymore, because the new software doesn't allow them.

Big discussions arise, the Process Managers fingerpoint to IT because
the system is not doing what the Users expected (it's doing what the
Process Managers specified though, but that doesn't help).

If the deviation is too big, the system get's thrown away.

After seeing how NCIC works, I can believe this (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14175753)

Recent work had me creating a program that processes data coming from NCIC. It's unbelievable how primitive it is. They can't even supply it in machine-readable form yet, I have to use screen-scraping techniques. I have this mental picture of the main server room populated with vacuum-tube Univac equipment maintained by Grace Hopper.

Re:After seeing how NCIC works, I can believe this (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177347)

Without going into details all I can say is that your mental picture is wrong and if you don't believe me then all I can say is "too bad". However it is a mainframe and it runs very well and processes about 3 million transactions per day (if I remember correctly). Also, the server room houses many other computer systems, some of them brand spanking new ( I won't say how I know). The FBI isn't as old fashioned as you perceive it to be. Have a look at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/ncic.htm [fbi.gov] for slightly more info (nontechnical and unclassified public information).

Re:After seeing how NCIC works, I can believe this (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178997)

Without going into details all I can say is that your mental picture is wrong and if you don't believe me then all I can say is "too bad". However it is a mainframe and it runs very well and processes about 3 million transactions per day (if I remember correctly).

I was using hyperbole for humor. My main beef is with the lack of a machine interface so that records can be accessed without having to parse responses intended for humans.

I wonder.. (0)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176034)

The Sept. 11 commission criticized the FBI's lack of information sharing that could have helped prevent the terrorist attacks.

Were they aware of this marvelous piece of technology called the telephone? I don't think they cost much, either.

Who ya gonna call? (2, Insightful)

Foerstner (931398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177027)

How, exactly would that have helped?

"FBI switchboard operator."

"Yes, hello, I need to talk to someone in counterterrorism...?"

"One moment, I'll connect you." *BEEP BOOP BOOP*

"Counterterrorism task force, this is agent Smith, how may I help you?"

"Yeah, this is Mark Chambers with the INS. I'm calling about this guy, Mohammed Atta. He's applied for a visa for flight school, but he keeps raving about jihad and the Great Satan. You know anything about this guy?"

"Maybe. I'll have to look through some files. If you leave your address, I can put together a packet and FedEx it to you. Shouldn't take more than a week."

"A week!"

"Yeah, well, I've got to file the pink half of an A-21 form with the Records office to get access to his file. Then Cheryl will have to check if we've got a file on this guy, plus cross-check any aliases he might have, but Cheryl's out sick today. She should be back Tuesday. Anyway, once Cheryl finds his file, I've got to review it for anything important. Sometimes the guys get sloppy and they leave classified stuff in these files, and I can't very well ship that to some INS guy I don't even know, can I?" *chuckles* "But that's just his main file; those aren't updated with the recent stuff. So after that I have to go to Intelligence Gathering and give them the canary copy of the A-21 with them, and they'll look for anything recent we've picked up about your guy on the wires. And then, I have to Xerox his file, right, and then I send the copy to you. Sorry I can't FAX it; machine's broke. Anyway, I get like fifteen of these a day, and I've got a backlog right now. Cheryl's been sick since last Thursday, see. So give me a good week."

"...okay...um, nevermind...look, I'm sure this Atta guy's okay, just fooling around. Don't bother."

Re:Who ya gonna call? (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177397)

Interesting example. Even so, a week lead time for an information request would have made much more difference than MONTHS of no communication at all. If they can't get the information in a week, then there are more serious problems. If these are not fixed first, they will have an adverse impact on the design of the new system, quite possibly leading to a repeat of the $170 million money-sucking black hole that preceded it. Except this time, after all cost overruns are figured in, it will probably be twice that. And just like last time, watch even the slightest hint of accountability evaporate right into the political ether.

Security vs. Complexity (2, Insightful)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176038)

From the article: With a wide variety of investigations, the FBI must be able to collect and store information in several different systems -- top secret, secret, classified, and sensitive but unclassified -- and any given document might contain information that falls into all four categories. Thus, the new system needs strict security controls to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands...

This is a big complicated system" because of the variety of issues the FBI investigates...

High complexity and the need for utmost security is the ideal combination for monumental failure, IMO. The problem with security is not the lack of adequate secure technology. Current techniques do work, otherwise our electronic commerce would have collapsed already. The problem is that hackers and ennemy spies will try to find ways of getting around the security barriers by exploiting defects in the underlying software. Since the number of defects in a software system is proportional to its complexity, there is no doubt that the system's security will be compromised at one time or another. It makes no difference who develops it.

A network's security is thus intimately tied to the reliability and robustness of the network's software. Security companies have no way of guaranteeing that the various software modules used in their systems are defect-free. This uncertainty is the Achilles' heel of the security industry. The solution is to move away from algorithmic software and adopt a non-algorithmic, signal-based, synchronous software model.

Re:Security vs. Complexity (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177087)

There's nothing new about having multiple classifications. The military has always been using that, and the FBI is not much different. That is not the real problem. The problem is "what information is relevant to other information" and connecting the dots. You have X pieces of data coming in from Y sources and sometimes multiple pieces of information per source from multiple sources needs to be combined to connect the dots. In a worst case you got X!Y! complexity in the information.

Since the number of defects in a software system is proportional to its complexity, there is no doubt that the system's security will be compromised at one time or another. It makes no difference who develops it.

Since that is already determined, let me know when Al-Quaida can launch the American nuclear ICBMs with a piece of software. I mean, it's any system developed by anybody, right?

The solution is to move away from algorithmic software and adopt a non-algorithmic, signal-based, synchronous software model.

How does any of that guarantee that the requirements aren't wrong, the settings aren't wrong, the architecture isn't wrong? How on earth do you expect to do synchroneous processing of tens of thousands of people all across the nation? You can move it out of the software level and to the network level, but you're not getting rid of it. I'd love to see "non-algorithmic" software. I know of non-OOP, but eventually they all seem to end up as one long algorithm of machine instructions...

Kjella

fros7 pipst! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14176119)

Rapid Development ... (1)

willtsmith (466546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14176126)


Maybe they should contract 4-5 firms to do a rapid development prototype. Than award the contract to the team that makes the best progress.

Geez, isn't that how the military does things??? Except they typically pay $50-$1000 million for each prototype.

Rather than waste

Re:Rapid Development ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14177298)

Why don't they just beg the NSA for access to their IT systems?

They might be smart enough to dumb it down for the FBI.

No more X-Files (2, Funny)

Null537 (772236) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177310)

I guess it will have to go back to the "Unexplained" category because there will be no use for filing cabnets.


The U-Files just isn't as catchy.

Northrop Grumman (2, Interesting)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14177323)

I'm already on a contract (I'm a subcontractor) under Lockheed Martin for the FBI and recently Northrop won a contract and had employees working in the same building I was working in. The project Northrop was working on ended up being behind schedule with Northrop behind on documentation and other things. Given, they were new to the environment and LM has been around for over 4 years now in the same environment but if that is any indication of future performance then Northrop won't win the bid for this new Sentinel contract. LM did win a re-bid for the existing contract that I'm on so they must be doing something that the FBI likes. Also, the fact that the VCF failed was not entirely the fault of SAIC since the FBI couldn't agree on requirements and their management for the project was always changing. Anyone would fail to meet requirements if the requirements never stabilize.
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