Hill investigators dispute FBI's technology skills

FBI's Zalmai Azmi

The FBI has parried a jab from congressional investigators, who charged that it is bungling its latest case management software project, by holding a press conference to defend itself.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) commissioned a report from the House Appropriations Committee's staff to study the bureau's defunct Virtual Case File case management system, which has been replaced by the Sentinel project. Wolf has sponsored a series of hearings on FBI reform.

The investigators reported that FBI officials had told them the bureau was 'scrambling' to speed up the Sentinel project and running separate planning projects simultaneously to cut corners.

FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi said at a press conference that Sentinel project planning was going according to established procedures. He said the bureau's IT reforms would prevent problems like those that torpedoed VCF.

Azmi said Sentinel would not use the Internet Protocol Version 6 architecture favored by the Pentagon for its worldwide Global Information Grid'Bandwidth Expansion project. Sentinel also does not yet include a classified wireless component, because the National Security Agency has not approved the technology. In the future, however, Azmi expects agents to be able to use wireless devices to communicate from the field.

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