CIA: agency's high-tech skills exaggerated

Wednesday, 11 June 2003, 2:35 PM EST

The Central Intelligence Agency is so afraid of losing sensitive information to hackers that its analysts work on outdated and poorly integrated computers, according to a newly declassified report.

Today's average CIA spy uses very little fancy gadgetry, the report suggests, and relies instead on a simple workstation built around two computers and two telephones -- one each for secure and unsecure correspondence. But in the agency's deep-rooted culture of suspicion, even the secure computers are bogged down in security protocol.

Some files cannot be shared, some cannot be updated, and still others cannot be searched, the report says, and until recently, even Palm Pilots were banned from CIA facilities.

All of this has left security analysts struggling to cobble together their reports with incomplete information.

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