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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Poor Relations 

Admittedly, the smart guys have always been NSA (Washington adage: if they can chew gum and keep their zipper up at the same time, they're NSA). But when you consider the amount of processing power it would take to run a data-mining program of the sort that William Arkin postulates --
So what would the NSA need to do that isn't covered by the provisions of FISA?

My guess is the government decided after 9/11 to monitor everyone . . . .

In other words, with the digitization of everything and new computer and software capabilities, the government couldn't go to the Court or the Congress and say, "hey, we'd like to monitor everyone on a fishing expedition to find the next Mohammed Atta."
-- the story below seems kinda, well, pitiful:
The FBI will not name a winner for a massive contract to overhaul the agency's antiquated computer system until early next year, an FBI official said Monday.

"I believe that the upgrade of the FBI's information technology systems is one of the most critical challenges facing the FBI," Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said in written remarks during the September hearing. "Without adequate systems, the FBI will not be able to perform its jobs as effectively and fully as it should."

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee blasted [FBI director Robert] Mueller in July for the costly failure of the FBI's Virtual Case File system, which was abandoned after serious flaws were uncovered. Sentinel replaces this project, which had cost the department $170 million to build.

The FBI also has received heat from lawmakers over the agency's poor maintenance of terrorist watch lists used for government screening procedures.
You will perhaps recall that as of 9/11/01, the FBI's proprietary software was able to perform a search on single words, but not on two-word phrases.

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