Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Typical Government Efficiency

And remember, this is the FBI, they’re on our first line of defense against terrorism.

Audit Cites FBI Technology Problems

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s struggles with technology are expected to continue to eat up millions of dollars and still leave agents and analysts wanting for a seamless electronic system to manage investigations, according to a federal audit released Wednesday.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said the FBI has already spent $405 million of the $451 million budgeted for its new Sentinel case-management system, but the system, as of September, was two years behind schedule and $100 million over budget.

Thomas Harrington, FBI associate deputy director, said the audit uses an outdated and “inflated cost estimate” that is “based on a worst-case scenario for a plan that we are no longer using.”

The FBI’s technology problems aren’t new, but they have potential consequences for the bureau’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, particularly at a time when the domestic terrorist threat is growing.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks exposed the FBI’s troubles with information sharing, and the bureau accelerated plans to replace its unwieldy case-management system with new software.

That technology project was called Trilogy and was supposed to deliver software called Virtual Case File that was to help FBI agents share investigative documents electronically. The inspector general called the project a fiasco and said the FBI and its contractors wasted $170 million and three years.

FBI Director Robert Mueller canceled Virtual Case File in 2005 and started a new project called Sentinel to be completed in 2009.

The system is supposed to provide agents and analysts with a secure Web-based system to search and manage evidence and get approvals for documents.

According to Mr. Fine’s audit, the system is still far from completion.

In July 2010, the FBI issued a stop-work order to contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. and decided to take over management of the completion of Sentinel.

FBI officials now say they can complete the system by September 2011, with additional spending of $20 million, according to the audit.

Mr. Fine found cause to doubt those estimates. He cited a review conducted by Mitre, a research group that is funded by the federal government, that estimates it will cost another $351 million to complete the system.

Read the report:

Status of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Implementation of the Sentinel Project,
Audit Report 11-01, October 2010

See also:
FBI Sentinel project is over budget and behind schedule, say IG auditors
FBI behind schedule, over budget on computer system
Report sharply critical of delays, costs of FBI case management system
IG report hits FBI Sentinel program
FBI Computer System Behind Schedule, Over Budget After $405 Million Spent
FBI computer system years late and way over budget
More Computer Woes at FBI, New System Late Over Budget
IG: FBI’s Sentinel program still off-track, over budget
FBI’s computer woes continue, auditors say
Report: FBI case management system still falls short
FBI’s Sentinel project $100 million over budget, 2 years behind schedule
Report Finds FBI Computer System Over Budget, Behind Schedule

Are you telling me that it takes more than five years and over a half billion dollars to design a case management system and it’s still not finished? And why is Lockheed Martin designing the software, when did they become known as software designers? Even Microsoft, as crappy as they are, could have probably put out a product that works in less time and for less money.

/if this FBI computer system disaster is an example of how the U.S. government operates in this arena, I can only shudder to think what will happen and how much it’ll cost when they decide to upgrade the homeland security and military computer networks