Many FBI agents in New York City are fighting crime and terrorists without an Internet-ready phone or even an e-mail account, says the New York Daily News. Mark Mershon, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s 2,000-employee city office, blamed the technology gap on budget constraints. He said there’s a cost attached to assigning an agent or analyst an e-mail address with the official domain name – ic.fbi.gov. Only about 100 agents in New York have BlackBerry devices, which allow users to send and receive e-mail and access the Internet from their phone.
The New York office has been told that funding for its BlackBerry pilot program is being cut. Said Sen. Chuck Schumer: “FBI agents not having e-mail or Internet access is much too much a pre-9/11 mentality.” An FBI spokeswoman said that about half the FBI employees don’t have official accounts because e-mail addresses are still being assigned.