The Boston Globe: This is amazing. Billions are being poured into the FBI and other governmental organizations and they can't even get the basics right.
The FBI in Washington state interviewed a witness last summer who said that John Allen Muhammad, now one of the sniper suspects, was trying to obtain a silencer for his gun and spoke of killing police officers, law enforcement officials said yesterday.
This can be corrected very easily. Give every agent a laptop (shoot, they gave every student in Maine a laptop for Christ's sake!). Put a weblogging tool on that laptop. Require that they write up a synopsis of every tip or interview they do in their weblog. Have them publish that weblog to a central Intranet. Put a Google appliance on that Intranet. Let it index the pages.
How simple is that? A couple of simple search routines could have netted this information. After that, it would only be a matter of ruling out suspects — which could have been left to local police. A couple weblogs, sorted by region could have been set up to disseminate the most likely leads to local police. Don't tell me it is more complicated than that. It isn't. In fact, anything that would make it more complicated than that would likely cause the system to fail given its size.
Total software costs: a couple of million $$. Savings in human life: priceless. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]