FBI makes IT a priority

As part of a massive restructuring of the FBI, director Robert Mueller announced in late May that a technology upgrade program is one of the agency's top 10 priorities.

Acknowledging that the FBI had handled terrorism clues inefficiently before Sept. 11, Mueller pegged the agency's technology upgrade as critical to its new counterterror focus.

Mueller said the technology upgrades must go beyond simply buying more hardware and include educating FBI personnel, so that they become comfortable with high technology. The agency will also recruit IT specialists, scientists and engineers to buttress its technological fight against terror.

The reorganization includes reassigning 518 FBI agents to counterterror duties, adding agents from the CIA and hiring more special agents to prevent and prosecute attacks. With the new agents to be added in fiscal 2003 and 2004, about 900 FBI agents will focus on counterterror work, said Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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