- By Dan Verton
- Apr 17, 2000
My Treasury Department snoops report that the department is preparing
to deny a protest from a Lotus Development Corp. reseller who claims that
his company has not been given a fair shake in supplying an alternative
to Microsoft Corp. products.
Treasury officials apparently have contacted IBM Corp. and Lotus about
the not-so-subtle tactics of the reseller: Annandale, Va.-based Sales Resource
Consultants Inc. delivered 535 three-inch binders to Congress full of what
it considered to be a mountain of evidence that the government is biased
in favor of Microsoft ["Microsoft, Lotus battle hits Marines," FCW, Dec.
The tactics got SRC its day on the Hill, but the move also seems to
have solidified the opposition. Sources say Treasury's rebuttal will include
legal documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission that are likely
to present roadblocks to more federal business for the company.
However, documents that "showed up" on the Interceptor's desk last week
indicate that SRC has started a legal fund, has retained counsel and is
in launching a campaign to alert other Lotus resellers of the government's
Does Somebody Need a Hug?
My mobile listening posts have picked up strong signals that some in
the military are downright flabbergasted at the notion of giving every fed
a PC to take home ["Government issue," FCW, April 10]. One Navy source said
he knows exactly what will happen if sailors are given laptops: "They will
go straight out the gate, sell it, [and] get drunk ."
A graduate of the Army's Logistics Management College said the solution
to better government is not smarter employees and a PC on every desk. "What
I have learned is that government is more about power and control than information
systems and computer science," said the disgruntled Army source. "Let me
tell you, the government has smart employees, and I'm one of them," he added.
"Problems are the No. 1 one reason why missions are not achieved."
Whew! Glad we cleared that up.
Cloaks, Daggers & Maps
The CIA's decision last week to fire one of the
officers involved in the deadly targeting error that led to the bombing
of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, last year has sparked conspiracy
theories among academics and government "insiders."
Although the CIA officially blamed a "severely flawed" target identification
process made worse by the use of outdated maps and databases full of bad
information, the party line doesn't sit well with some who think it's possible
somebody allowed the error to go unnoticed.
My e-mail queue has been flooded with theories that appear to be the
work of avid Tom Clancy fans. The most intriguing theory is that the embassy
was acting as a clandestine electronic eavesdropping post for the Serbs.
But conspiracies require secrecy among scores of people.
According to one industry official, the information revolution has made
it "virtually impossible to keep a secret within the U.S. government."
The General Accounting Office told Congress this month that because
36 foreign nationals had access to source code in the air traffic control
system last year to conduct Year 2000 fixes, the system may be more susceptible
But there's another problem on the rise: "air rage." Hostile and criminal
acts aboard aircraft are on the rise, according to GAO.
Intercept something interesting? E-mail the Interceptor at firstname.lastname@example.org.