December 20, 2002 9:25 AM PST

FBI under fire for IT slipups

The FBI continues to mismanage its information technology resources despite efforts at reform, a federal audit has concluded.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Special Report
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on Thursday issued a report blasting the agency's information technology investments, blaming lax oversight and a lack of centralized planning. These contributed to delays and cost overruns in a critical project aimed at updating the agency's IT infrastructure, among other things.

That project, known as Trilogy, is expected to provide long overdue updates in FBI field office computer systems. The project is months behind schedule and some $78 million over budget to date, according to the DOJ report.

"Because the FBI has not fully implemented the critical processes associated with effective IT investment management, the FBI continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IT projects without adequate assurance that these projects will meet their intended goals," the report concluded.

An FBI spokesman on Friday said the agency was preparing a response to the DOJ report. A statement was not available by the time this article was published.

The DOJ audit comes as the FBI seeks to shore up weaknesses identified in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. The agency has said that upgrading its information technology is among its top 10 priorities.

The DOJ audit concluded that the FBI must do more to improve IT resource management, including setting goals and creating better oversight procedures to ensure that money is well spent.


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