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PostWatch
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2002
 
6:45 PM

If you liked Iran-Contra, you'll love the Information Awareness Office...

A new Pentagon research office has started designing a global computer-surveillance system to give U.S. counterterrorism officials access to personal information in government and commercial databases around the world...

Basically the idea, being promoted by former Reagan National Security Adviser John Pointdexter, is to create a global data vacuum-cleaner.

He said rules built into the software would identify users, create an audit trail and govern the information that is available. But he added that his mission is to develop the technology, not the policy. It would be up to Congress and policymakers to debate the issue and establish the limits that would make the system politically acceptable....

I just build rockets. Where they land is none of my concern.

..."We're just as concerned as the next person with protecting privacy."

Not likely.

Getting the Defense Department job is something of a comeback for Poindexter. The Reagan administration national security adviser was convicted in 1990 of five felony counts of lying to Congress, destroying official documents and obstructing congressional inquiries into the Iran-contra affair, which involved the secret sale of arms to Iran in the mid-1980s and diversion of profits to help the contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Poindexter, a retired Navy rear admiral, was the highest-ranking Regan administration official found guilty in the scandal. He was sentenced to six months in jail by a federal judge who called him "the decision-making head" of a scheme to deceive Congress. The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned that conviction in 1991, saying Poindexter's rights had been violated through the use of testimony he had given to Congress after being granted immunity.


It's possible you may not want to take this guy's word on being "just as concerned as the next person with protecting privacy."




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