Computer Ills Hinder NSA

    Date03 Mar 2006
    CategoryGovernment
    6982
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    Two technology programs at the heart of the National Security Agency's drive to combat 21st-century threats are stumbling badly, hampering the agency's ability to fight terrorism and other emerging threats, current and former government officials say. One is Cryptologic Mission Management, a computer software program with an estimated cost of $300 million that was designed to help the NSA track the implementation of new projects but is so flawed that the agency is trying to pull the plug. The other, code-named Groundbreaker, is a multibillion-dollar computer systems upgrade that frequently gets its wires crossed.

    The downfall of the Cryptologic Mission Management program has not previously been disclosed. While Congress raised concerns about the agency's management of Groundbreaker in a 2003 report, the extent and impact of its inadequacies have not been discussed publicly. Intelligence experts told The Sun that as a result of these failures, agency computers have trouble talking to each other and frequently crash, key bits of data are sometimes lost, and vital intelligence can be overlooked - all as the agency aggressively argues for broader surveillance power under the president's warrantless wiretapping program.

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