FBI's budget chock-full of tech-related efforts
- $80 million for the FBI's new case-management system, known as Sentinel
- $2.3 million and 14 positions for the Crimes Against Children and Innocent Images National Initiative
- $37 million and 41 positions to provide technical expertise and equipment to execute lawfully authorized electronic surveillance of data network facilities
- $10 million for operations and maintenance for the FBI's IT infrastructure
- $14 million to correct DNA data center backlogs
- $10 million to enhance audio and data collection for counterintelligence and counterterrorism
- $25 million for advanced fingerprint search algorithms
Cyber Security Industry Alliance President Tim Bennett lauded the proposed funding boon, saying "there's no way we can have a major law enforcement agency like the FBI be crippled by inadequate information systems."
"Fixing the problem is going to take a lot of money," he added.
The agency's shift to become a prevention and intelligence-driven organization "is taxing the FBI's physical surveillance and electronic surveillance intelligence-gathering capacities," FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate Appropriations panel in April.
Herbert Lin, staff director of a 2004 National Research Council FBI tech study, said the agency seems to be paying attention to how "all kinds of technology" can enhance its ability to perform its mission. The agency's leadership seems "completely committed" to that effort, he said.
The House report also articulated members' lingering concerns with the FBI's improper use of "national security letters," which let agents obtain telephone, e-mail and financial records without prior judicial approval. The document calls for a ban on the use of funds to authorize the letters in ways not approved by FBI policy.