Two-Thirds of G-Men Still Can't Get Online
By Noah Shachtman October 24, 2007 | 3:29:37 PMCategories: Cops and Robbers
Feel free to talk smack about the FBI around here. The changes of a G-Man actually reading this are pretty small.
USA Today On Deadline catches the Bureau's Willie Hulon admitting to the Senate Intelligence Committee that only a third of the Agency's desks have computers that can access the Internet. "Another third of the FBI's workforce is due to receive them within the next year," allegedly.
But not to worry, Hulon adds. It's not like agents can't do research online. "They do have access to the Internet. We have stations within field offices that people can go to to work at but we don't have access at everyone's desk," he says.
Well, that fixes everything.
The FBI, once seen as the alpha geeks of law enforcement, have had acute cases of computer- and network-phobia for years. Former director Louis Freeh reportedly had his PC taken off of his desk. The 100,000 tips from 2002’s Washington sniper case, Ronald Kessler notes in The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, were circulated by fax. As recently as 18 months ago, the Bureau's chief information officer said the FBI couldn't afford e-mail addresses for 8,000 of its 30,000 employees. And only 100 of 2000 agents in New York had Blackberries. Headquarters nearly cut off the 100 Blackberry owners until an assistant director "raised a stink" and saved his G-men from being disconnected.