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Home > World

Private income

5 December 2003

One person ideally placed to head up the colour-coding of airline passengers is retired admiral and famed computer nerd John Poindexter, who has quietly left his job developing unpopular ‘data mining’ systems for the Pentagon’s Office of Information Awareness. The final straw was Poindexter’s proposal to create an online trading market to predict terrorist attacks, wars, assassinations and disasters. One Senator said the scheme was so grotesque he had trouble getting anyone to believe it was for real.

As National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, Poindexter communicated with Lt. Col. Oliver North through a special channel called ‘Private Blank Cheque’ which Poindexter had personally set up on the National Security Council computer system. This channel could not be screened by other NSC staff.

When the Iran-Contra affair was exposed in 1986, Poindexter deleted 5012 messages from his computer file. Unfortunately for him the White House computer system had routinely backed-up all the deleted material, which formed important evidence in the subsequent trial. He was convicted on five felony counts but his conviction was reversed on the technicality that he had given immunised testimony to Congress.

As Poindexter left his post, an unnamed defence official said it was highly doubtful that the Pentagon would seek his advice as a consultant ‘any time soon’. We may never see his like again.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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