Dragging through the swamp

Despite what the war hawks think, terrorism can't be combatted by throwing our military might around and hoping the bad guys will be cowed back into the shadows. The "terror" part of terrorism depends on the element of surprise. It's not knowing where, when, or how the next attack is coming that keeps us afraid. Thus, the way to fight terrorism is to remove the element of surprise.

And we can only do that by knowing what they're up to; by having intelligence that's strong enough to discover what terrorists are up to. The most frustrating thing about 9/11 was that we had the intelligence we needed to perhaps prevent it, but the information was not passed around between the various departments of the FBI.

The lack of an up-to-date computer network was seen as one of the stumbling blocks to staying a step ahead of the terrorists. Obviously, a new system was needed. Predictably, that system is over two years behind schedule.

The Virtual Case File system is being deveoped by Computer Sciences Corporation, where the project has apparently fallen victim to the tsetse flies of sloth in the swamp of greed:

Now, more than $500 million into the four-year-old project, the F.B.I. has received new computers and access to e-mail and the Internet for agents.
Wow... they have new computers and e-mail access. But no case file system. And it only cost $500 million.

What... exactly are you guys doing over at CSC? Besides sponsoring bicycle teams to boost your own visibility. At least our tax dollars are going to something useful, since they're clearly not going towards solving the FBI's computer problem.

I don't think it matters if you're liberal and you think spending is justified, or conservative and think we should cut back; the way contractors cheat the government, by dragging their feet and doing shoddy work, is reprehensible. As taxpayers, we're simply not getting our money's worth. In this case, CSC is hampering one of our few legitimate anti-terrorism efforts. And, since external oversight of the project is apparently completely lacking, we have no idea what the holdup is.

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