Cash-strapped FBI agents left without email
By John Leyden
Published Wednesday 22nd March 2006 13:36 GMT
Budget cuts at the FBI have left some agents without email accounts.
"As ridiculous as this might sound, we have real money issues right now, and the government is reluctant to give all agents and analysts dot-gov accounts," said Mark Mershon, head of the FBI's New York office, AP reports. "We just don't have the money."
Every New York agent has access to a secure internal messaging system but only three in four have email accounts that can be reached from outside the organisation.
FBI officials denied that a squeeze on spending was to blame for some agents having to operate without access to government email accounts. A Washington spokeswoman told AP that email addresses were still being handed out to New York staffers. The FBI expects to provide all 2,000 agents in its New York office with email accounts by the end of the year.
At least one US politician is unimpressed that agents don't already have access to modern communications technology. "The FBI should have the tools it needs to fight terrorism and crime in the 21st century, most of all in New York City, and one of the most effective means of communications is e-mail and the Internet," Senator Charles Schumer told AP.
I guess hotmail and yahoo accounts will be on the rise now..............
If there is no news... make something that is not so unusual an issue.
I am a retired federal agent. Not FBI, but a major agency. Read the article carefully. It relates to accessing .gov email from outside the DOJ system.
Everyone has a .gov email address, agents AND civilian employees. Typically firstname.lastname.gov. It also ties to an agency internally in the DOJ system, such as firstname.last name.agency.gov... or some such. It is internal and on a big agency email directory by person's name.
I had a firstname.lastname.gov email address/account. BUT... since I did not have an operational need to access my .gov email from outside the system, via common internet access... I was not given that type of account. THE only advantage is being able to access email from outside. Since I was in the office at some time everyday, I could manage my email without needing outside access. The guys in my office on task forces who were in offices NOT in a federal building, they needed and got outside access. There was not a federal computer system where they physically worked, so they needed access to .gov email via internet.
Since the FBI is SO SPECIAL (that is why they are called Special Agents) :-) ... they feel that EVERY agent should have outside access. That does cost extra out of an agency budget... and I am sure would be needed to be approved by the Government Accounting Office GAO, therefore proven that it was truly needed for EVERY agent. In truth... it is not... but the FBI is trying. Actually, accessing the .gov email system via internet is a security issue. The more outside users there are... the more the chance it can be hacked. SO... give it ONLY to those who have a REAL operational need... NOT every agent like the FBI wants.
So... no one misunderstands. I am saying I had a .gov email address I could manage from my desk in my office in a federal building. I also has unlimited internet access (except porn and such sites of course!) for business AND personal use. Before the bunch starts yelling about personal use of the internet by .gov... think of it like a telephone. I also had unlimited use of the telephone at my desk... both business and personal. The only limitation was long distance telephone calls out of the country AND PERSONAL NON WORK RELATED long distance calls. Notice how I implied personal work related calls were NOT restricted. Examples... I could call long distance and purchase equipment with personal finds that was work related. I could call my immediate family on the system from another office, if I traveled on governmant business. A reasonable length call to my family while out of town.
The FBI is using the media to bring their fight with the GAO over the outside access by EVERY agent into a public view. The other federal LE agencies do not have an every agent access via internet... and it is very manageable. Not the big to-do the FBI wants everyone to think. The sqeaky wheel gets the oil!!!
I take it this is supposed to be bad news.
Perhaps they can work up a strategic underfunding program to eliminate fiascos like Richard Jewell, Ruby Ridge, Wen Ho Lee, Richard Whitehurst, Christipher Braga, Whitey Bulger, Clyde Tolson (I have lots of gay friends, but making your lover 2d in command at the FBI is a bit much, IMO) et c. et c. I doubt it, thgough. When .gov agencies get in a pinch, they always cut the hours of "cop on the beat" and continue the clothing and flash-money allowance for anybody who hasn't laid hands on a BG in at least 10 years.