Technology is Reducing Mountains of Paper and Helping Organize Cases
WASHINGTON (January 2011)—The FBI is challenged every day with stacks of documents for financial cases such as money laundering, Ponzi schemes, and public corruption: investigative documents are gathered from multiple sources and in some cases can fill entire rooms. Just imagine the bank statements, financial statements, and records most people keep filed at home and multiply that by thousands. So in looking to streamline the investigation process and quickly sort through the mountains of paper, the FBI has implemented a new, more efficient system to assist case agents in managing and analyzing documents.
The Bureau Investigative Document Management and Analysis System (BIDMAS) uses a commercial product which enables the FBI to scan or import case documents into a central location. The system then allows agents to search, review, tag and export documents, as well as exchange the documents with the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys, and FBI partner agencies and law firms. These capabilities will assist agents in all aspects of trials, including trial preparation, exhibits for trial, and discovery requests.
Two valuable features of BIDMAS are the advanced search and analytical capabilities of the system, which allow for immediate lead development and targeted searches. Agents can find that needle in the haystack much quicker. The analytical tools in the system allow users to see interrelationships and correspondence between individuals in relation to search terms. In addition, the system has a feature which reduces duplicate information automatically.
BIDMAS has shown various benefits. Case agents who have used BIDMAS in their investigations reported saving up to two years in document review time compared to the manual case review process. Also, the number of duplicated case documents has declined, which has also contributed to a significant reduction in total investigative costs.
The FBI is looking to expand the scope of the BIDMAS tool to include more criminal cases that deal with large volumes of documents. With BIDMAS, the Bureau has one more tool to help reduce the administrative workload on agents, save money, and increase the efficiency of case investigations.