Acting Director outlined the FBI’s budget request for fiscal year 2018 yesterday. In a statement before the House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, McCabe testified that the FBI will require an overall budget of $8.77 billion in 2018 to carry out its mission. These funds will be used to support 33,533 positions which include 12,484 special agents, 2,950 intelligence analysts, and 18,099 professional staff with $51.9 million being used for construction.
The FBI is enhancing established programs with $117.6 million in an effort “to meet critical requirements and close gaps in operational capabilities, including $41.5 million to enhance cyber investigative capabilities.” McCabe continued:
“Our adversaries – terrorists, foreign intelligence services, and criminals – take advantage of modern technology, including the Internet and social media, to facilitate illegal activities, recruit followers, encourage terrorist attacks and other illicit actions … The breadth of these threats and challenges are as complex as any time in our history. And the consequences of not responding to and countering threats and challenges have never been greater.”
McCabe further elaborated for the House Representatives on both committees regarding the rapid pace with which mobile and other communication technologies are advancing. “There is a real and growing gap between law enforcement’s legal authority to access digital information and its technical ability to do so.” The FBI refers to this growing chasm as “going dark.”
The acting director further maintained that federal agents and investigators face significant challenges in identifying criminals who shield their illegal activities with layers of identity obscuring technology, such as cryptocurrencies. McCabe continued “FBI agents with court-ordered search warrants seize and attempt to search cellular phones, tablets, and other electronic devices, but are unable to access them due to technical barriers.