FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2001 The federal judge overseeing the individual Indian trust fund held a private hearing on Wednesday to discuss critical computer security issues at the Department of Interior. According to a court order filed on the same day, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth held the secret session with two Department of Justice attorneys who are part of Secretary Gale Norton's defense team. The attorneys, Sandra P. Spooner and John T. Stemplewicz, are from Justice's civil division and are responsible for arguing Norton's opposition to a trust fund receiver and other related issues. Noticeably absent were representatives from the U.S. Attorneys office in Washington, D.C. The office is defending Norton from contempt charges. Also not present were attorneys for the class action Cobell v. Norton lawsuit. What was said during the secret, one-sided hearing is not known. Lamberth had the session recorded but has temporarily filed the transcript under seal, indicating he may make it public soon. But according to Wednesday's order, several issues were discussed, all related to computer security. They were:
- Norton's desire to file certain parts of report prepared by EDS Corporation, a consulting firm she paid nearly $3 million to assess trust reform, under seal. These parts would discuss security of not only the individual trust but also tribal ones.
- Norton's opposition to the publication of an investigation into computer security by special master Alan Balaran. He finalized a report earlier this month, which Lamberth temporarily placed under seal, again indicating he may make it public.
- Norton's request to speak with a third-party contractor about security issues raised by Balaran.
- Norton's opposition to a temporary restraining order being proposed by the Cobell plaintiffs. The plaintiffs filed the request under seal in response to Balaran's report.
Office of the Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov
Trust Management Improvement Project - http://www.doi.gov/bia/trust/tmip.htm
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com Related Stories:
Trust fund security document filed (11/14)
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