The FBI’s failure to roll out an expanded computer system that would help agents investigate criminals and terrorists is the latest in a series of costly technology blunders by government over more than a decade, the Associated Press reports. “There are very few success stories,” said Paul Brubaker, former deputy chief information officer at the Pentagon. “Failures are very common, and they’ve been common for a long time.” The FBI said it might shelve its custom-built, $170 million “Virtual Case File” project because it is inadequate and outdated. The system was intended to help agents, analysts and others share information without using paper or time-consuming scanning of documents.
“They do have a tendency to reinvent the wheel,” said James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based civil liberties group. Some experts praised the FBI, saying its potential $170 million loss paled in comparison to other technology blunders. They noted that FBI Director Robert Mueller acted properly to pull the plug when he realized the system wouldn’t work as envisioned. “To the FBI’s credit, it could have been worse,” Brubaker said. “They should build off-ramps early in the process, so if they think things are going south, they can push the reset button.”