FBI streamlines operations

The FBI is taking steps to eliminate duplication of effort in its cybercrime investigation programs, rolling 11 existing units into four new divisions.

A new Cybercrime Division will be integrated with the bureau's Criminal Investigation Division. Ruben Garcia Jr., the new executive assistant director for criminal investigations, will lead the effort. The three other divisions that will manage the bureau's major areas of responsibility will be Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence, Law Enforcement Services and Administration.

The changes are the first step in a larger U.S. Department of Justice reorganization that's designed to help federal law enforcement officials wage the war against terrorism more efficiently.

The new FBI cybercrime division may be good news for U.S. companies, said Harris Miller, president of the Arlington, Va.-based Information Technology Association of America. The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and the FBI's InfraGard program "do not have the investigative focus" that's needed, he said. InfraGard is a cybercrime security initiative designed to improve cooperation between federal law enforcement officials and the private sector.

"NIPC is more centered on gathering information and disseminating it to help head off possible cybercrimes. InfraGard is centered on educating businesses that do not understand the dangers of and appropriate actions to protect against cybercrimes," Miller said.

There has been no specific mention of what, if any, changes might be made to the role of the NIPC, which is an arm of the FBI. But Ron Dick, the organization's director, has repeatedly dismissed calls by critics to make the NIPC independent of the FBI. The bureau is the only government agency that has the legal and constitutional authority to conduct certain activities that would benefit the NIPC, Dick said.

"Looking at the government's infrastructure-protection efforts from a legal authorities perspective, you can better see why the NIPC is housed within the Department of Justice at the FBI," said Dick, speaking in September at the annual InfoWarCon conference in Washington. "Being inside the FBI gives the NIPC access to law enforcement, intelligence, counterintelligence and open-source information that for privacy and civil rights reasons is unavailable in its aggregate to any other federal agency."

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Feds Boost Online Surveillance Activity:

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Feds Boost Online Surveillance Activity

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FBI streamlines operations

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