For $500 Million, Can We At Least Expect The New FBI Computers To Work?

from the just-wondering dept

It's been nearly two years since the FBI admitted that the new computer system they'd spent hundreds of millions of dollars and three years building wasn't just late and over-budget, but also useless at fighting terrorism. Of course, like any good bureaucracy, the FBI then sat around for seven months before deciding that maybe it should scrap the system and start again from scratch. Sounds like a plan, right? Well, it's been well over a year since then, and the FBI has just now gotten around to picking a vendor for the new system, while admitting that this time, it should cost about $500 million and take another four years to fully implement. Given the fact that it's taken nearly two years to go from recognizing the last system was useless to finally agreeing on plans for this new system (and given the history of the old system), you would have to imagine the odds aren't that great on this new system showing up on time, within the budget or actually being useful in fighting whatever threat is most important to the FBI by the time it's completed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 3:34am

    My 486SX works just fine thank you ... and what a steal @ ONLY 500M! :)

     

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  2.  
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    Tax Season!, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 4:09am

    Heh.

    What precisely are they asking the system to do?

    My supposedly educated coworkers have some pretty funny ideas of what computers can or cannot do.

    I can think of atleast one instance in another company where an entire inventory system was scrapped because upper management didn't know how to use it.

    I can only imagine something similar is being played out here.

     

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  3.  
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    mk, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 5:42am

    Isn't it obvious what it needs to do?

    The system needs to catch all terrorists, of course! And all other federal criminals would be a nice added bonus. What, that can't be done? Try telling it to them.

    All I can say is good luck with the system(s). I bet the vendor is quite happy.

     

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  4.  
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    STJ, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 5:59am

    Where can I buy the old ones? I have a couple thousand $$ to blow on it!!

     

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  5.  
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    Sleeps, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:38am

    intelligence?

    "We've lost I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E! I repeat, we have no I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.! "

     

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  6.  
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    Rip, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:43am

    Vendor?

    Dude, they're getting a DELL!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:44am

    Re: Heh.

    You hit the nail on the head - the requirements for the origional program were basically going paperless for their case management. In the end it didn't do something completely different (intelligence info and tracking) and everyone was suprised.

     

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  8.  
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    VPR, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:44am

    I honestly assumed that the FBI would have their fair share of the top 1% of geeks. I'm not 100% positive (since I don't work for the FBI) but if they're saying the equipment is overpriced & basically worthless, I can't help but assume that they're using Microsoft products in a Dell box ;)

    Where can I buy the old ones? I have a couple thousand $$ to blow on it!!


    Save your hard earned bones. The system you build yourself for that amount will surely dust any box for the same price.

    ...then again, maybe they'll include the speakers & desk mics too!

     

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  9.  
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    STS, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:04am

    FBI - For Bad Intelligence

    Hey! for 500M, the computer should be able to get the bad guys everytime.

     

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  10.  
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    Lloyd Ronick, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:12am

    We need what CTU has!

    It's obvious what the FBI needs. Just have them watch a few episodes of 24. They need a computer system that can access any other computer in the world, regardless of operating system, be able to decrypt any encryption scheme, access plans to every building in every city in the world (and control all systems in all those buildings), send information to any cell phone in the world, find information on every person, living or dead (and recognize their faces), and have a security system so pourous that anyone can "reprogram" the building access cards in 5 minutes.

     

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  11.  
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    Lloyd Ronick, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:14am

    Re: We need what CTU has!

    Oh yeah, I forgot one more thing. They need Chloe!

     

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  12.  
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    Robert, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:44am

    A computer that catches criminals and terrorists..

    For 500m their computer should be mixed with some robotics and be out searching for the terrorists. Mix a little army fighting robot technology with some technolgy from the MIT winners of the DARPA grand challenge then give the two technologies the body of the ASIMO robot from honda and the FBI will have their own Robo-Cop. Then maybe they can at least impress someone with their technology even if it fails to do what they intended it to do.

     

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  13.  
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    Andrew Strasser, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:53am

    Heh

    Maybe the Fed's don't but there are computers out there that are working for our tax dollars to keep us safe.

     

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  14.  
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    anon, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:04am

    HA!

    Chances are all the big-wigs in the FBI and all the members of their families just got free computers paid for by you and me!

     

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  15.  
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    fastrev, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:16am

    Ya the new list of terrorists...

    Ya lets I bet the need computer generates a list of 340million people to supect of crimes or terrorism... call in skynet..

     

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  16.  
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    akkurt, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:16am

    Chloe

    They wrote out edgar, I wonder if he is available for subcontracting now?
    You would thinmk that any industrious vendor could find a way to reformat all that semi new hardware and put Linux on it like we do when a system doesn't work, or is to obsolete to run window$

    I'll start burning Knoppix disks right now and i will do it for 200 million.......cash

     

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  17.  
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    Wow, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    WOW

    500 Mil huh? Sounds like enough money to build your own computer, purchase enough staff to research new technology, and build a class 10 datacenter all in about a 3 year period?

     

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  18.  
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    Nobody, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:51am

    Dave the G-man: Hal, where is Bin Laden hiding?
    HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
    (ala, 2001 A Space Odyssey)

     

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  19.  
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    Josh, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:53am

    24

    Forget the computer system, all they really need is Jack Bauer.

     

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  20.  
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    Jake, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 9:08am

    500 million dollars!!! (in best Dr. No voice)

    Okay, the news item was rather sad, but the comments are hilarious.

    What's sad about the news? 500 million for a new computer system for the FBI and kids in school don't know who fought in the Civil War.

    I'm not saying the answer is in money, but 500 million in the hands of the states could go a long way in helping out across the board. I mean, it's not like the "new" 500 million system is going to work when it's completed.

    What a waste.

     

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  21.  
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    pery, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 9:35am

    come on now that is just silly.

    there is one thing about our government i do not understand...what is the point of spending obsene abouts of money if you are just going to release the crook in a few days to weeks anyway...why wast our money. Why not shoot them on sight...,if hey do not come back you shoot there family, dont want any dna to sep its way into the mainstream clinic of life. Yeah thats right most of them are being found AGAIN cause there were lost or let go..well im sorry but the most expensive computer in the world is not going to back our justice system smart ONLY SMART PEOPLE WILL.

     

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  22.  
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    Mota, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 10:05am

    Re: Heh

    Kind of like FEMA (Katrina) and the CIA (World Trade Centers--you pick which time) has done in the past?

     

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  23.  
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    Strangelove, Dr., Mar 15th, 2006 @ 10:59am

    Just a moment...Just a moment...

    Well, I don't think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has cropped up before and it has always been due to human error.

    Quite honestly, I wouldn't worry myself about that.

    It is nothing serious. There is no question about it.

    Everything is going extremely well. I feel much better now, I really do.

    Daisy, Daisy...

     

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  24.  
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    Colby Callahan, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 11:45am

    A Barren Wasteland

    Apparently wasted money in scrapped projects is just a price to pay for innovation, just as much as famine and death are in war. Everything is expendable, and it all comes down to a bottom line. No one can see past themselves. They see freedom in isolation. Once they have secured their safety, the search ends... Unless they see oportunity to capitalize further.

     

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  25.  
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    Jan Christiansen, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 12:23pm

    Planning

    I have read that approximately 50% of all large software projects are abandoned as unworkable part way through.

    Can you imagine the uproar if half of all big construction projects were abandoned half finished (power plants, bridges, skyscrapers, dams).

    We need better, more systematic ways, to specify and construct large scale software. A 50% failure rate is not acceptable.

     

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  26.  
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    phredd, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:18pm

    This is a Good thing

    We're damn luck the systems Don't work.

    The last thing the country needs is more invasion of privacy, under the guise of "fighting terrorism", Carnivore, the patriot act, digital rights management, digital millenium copyright act enforcement, warrantless wiretaps, or whaterver phony excuse is fashionable this week.

     

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  27.  
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    JJ, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    God, 500,000,000 damn, Dell doesnt spend that much on their outsourced tech support.

    I have no respect for the damn US governmetn, spending our money that we work really hard for for nothing. i think it wouldnt be spent on a new drug that there making...since they were the ones who inventted Crack or was that the CIA, well there both smart like that.

    - JJ

     

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  28.  
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    Steve, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Vendor?

    They originally got a DELL and that's when their problems began. Everybody, except the FBI, knows that DELL is crap. DELL makes a pretty box, for sure and that's about it.

     

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  29.  
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    Steve, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:16pm

    Re: 500 million dollars!!! (in best Dr. No voice)

    500 million is peanuts compared to the money the U.S government wastes every day. How much have they blown on the war in Iraq, alone and it's not even their war!! It's quite obvious that the U.S. has way more money than brains and wastes it on stupid things, so the computer fiasco is a minor technicality.
    Great country, huh? 8 million illegal immigrants, broken borders and no way to fix that. Lousy, non-existant health care system, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost to outsourcing, GM filed for chapter 11 and thousands more jobs gone. No way to stimulate the economy, but blow hundreds of millions of cash on obsolete 'puters. :)

     

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  30.  
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    Anon, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 8:43pm

    Re: We need what CTU has!

    Sadly, that IS what they want. "well it works on TV" they whine

     

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  31.  
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    Crimz, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    .....

    Its great to see that our tax money is used for so many good things in this country. yeah I know its the FBI...but we have starving, homeless people in this country that could use some new type of program to get them on thier feet. Nope, instead the government issues a some new thing that actually pays homeless people to go be homeless in California, then they spend money on the FBI's new toy.

    bring on the comments

     

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