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5/29/2002
03:03 PM
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FBI Sees IT As Central To Its Reorganization

Recruiting IT professionals and updating its infrastructure are high on the agency's new agenda.

Using charts resting on an easel, FBI director Robert Mueller briefed reporters Wednesday about how the bureau plans to become a high-tech anti-terrorism agency. The FBI is "years behind" in developing a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure, Mueller said, and as part of a massive reorganization, it's upgrading that infrastructure and training personnel on how to use it to thwart criminals.

In fact, the agency will recruit IT experts to become special agents. Traditionally, the bureau has looked almost exclusively to the military and legal and accounting professions for recruits. "We have to do a much better job of recruiting, managing, and training our workforce," Mueller said.

As well, he said, the FBI must "do a better job of collaborating with others. We have to do a better job collecting, analyzing, and sharing information." One example of this might be a closer relationship being forced on the historically mutually antagonistic FBI and CIA. Attorney General John Ashcroft said at the press conference the CIA will train FBI agents in an effort to "upgrade their analytical capabilities." The agency also will work with local, state, and international crime-fighting agencies to develop efficient data-sharing methods.

Mueller said the FBI is expanding the tools it uses for mining data and analyzing financial records and communications. He said he envisions a day when artificial-intelligence systems, for instance, can identify possible terrorists enrolled in flight-training schools throughout the nation. He said, "That's the type of technology we need to enhance."

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