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IG Says FBI Terrorism Tracking System Better, But Still Needs To Improve

Tracking terrorism is an imprecise science. The Justice Department Inspector General says the FBI has improved, but could still do better. After all, it doesn’t take much to miss a credible clue.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The FBI’s main electronic system that tracks terrorist threats and suspicious incidents amounts to a “significant improvement” over earlier computer packages, but the bureau could do more to improve its accuracy, the Justice Department inspector general said yesterday.
The system stored 108,000 threats and suspicious incidents between July 2004 and November 2007, the “overwhelming majority” of them bum leads, according to the report by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. Agents ultimately opened 600 criminal investigations based on the tips.
Fine said that the bureau generally handled high-priority tips quickly. Still, his report faulted the bureau for allowing low-priority incidents to remain in the computer tracking system for longer than a month. He also said that FBI supervisors should have reviewed more of the false leads before line agents decided to close the cases.
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