The development is a major setback for the F.B.I. in a decade-long struggle to escape a paper-driven culture and replace antiquated computer systems that have hobbled counterterrorism and criminal investigations. Robert S. Mueller III, the bureau's director, along with members of the Sept. 11 commission and other national security experts, have said the success of that effort is critical to domestic security. (Emphasis added.)
Are they KIDDING me? Why can't they get this right, especially since these are long-standing problems, problems which the FBI was made aware of well before 9/11 - hell, a really, really long time before 9/11:
The quote above is from 1986. Plus ça change, ay? More recent problems include refusing to hire chubby security expert geeks because they can't pass the Bureau's fitness requirements (as if these guys are going to be out in the field); ancient desktop computers and networks so slow that faxes were preferred to e-mails; and, generally, a culture that was hostile to IT:
Before you say, "This is a difficult job," please bear this in mind:
If the CIA and NSA can do it, surely so can the FBI. Look, I expect nothing but incompetence from the Bush Administration, but this isn't exactly some Dick Cheney task force or John Ashcroft-led investigation. This is a major government agency which should have its own vested interest in improving the state of its IT. There are no excuses - none - for not getting this right, not when there are so many lives at stake.