- By Judi Hasson
- Sep 18, 2000
The Name Blame
The FBI dubbed its sophisticated e-mail bugging system "Carnivore" because
it would "get to the meat" of suspect e-mails, officials said. But it has
become a public relations nightmare for the bureau since the nickname became
public in July. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) remarked on the "unfortunate"
moniker during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Sept. 6 and noted that
"nobody is the author of the name these days."
Attorney General Janet Reno at first asked reporters to "call it something
other than Carnivore" but gave up trying three weeks later. "You can't get
away from a name once it's on it," she said. And FBI spokesman Paul Bresson
sheepishly acknowledged, "We all kind of agree at this point it wasn't the
best name we could have given it." It's a good thing J. Edgar Hoover isn't
alive because the agent who coined that nickname would be half-way to Butte,
Mont., by now.
Putting the IT in Fitness?
It wasn't all high-tech work at this month's Interagency Resources Management
Conference in Wil-liams-burg, Va. Attendees at the conference were treated
to a visit from a well-tanned Suzanne Somers, the former sitcom actress
who plugs her own exercise equipment on cable television.
Her appearance came at the last minute after exercise guru Richard Simmons
canceled because of an injury. Somers gave an inspirational speech about
her road to success that began with a troubled childhood as the daughter
of an abusive, alcoholic father. She credits a government-sponsored counseling
program with getting her back on her feet years ago.
To no one's surprise, the high-tech community is opening its wallets
to political candidates in this year's races. Republican presidential hopeful
George W. Bush has outdistanced his Democratic opponent, Al Gore, by a 2-to-1
margin in total donations from the technology world ($928,749 to $429,454).
Topping the list of total industry contributions to individuals and political
parties was Microsoft Corp., which shelled out $2.8 million, followed
by America Online with $1.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive
Politics (www.opensecrets.org), which tracks money and politics. Of course,
these two companies have the most at stake over their futures — one involving
a possible breakup and the other a pending merger. But will money really
help their causes?
Flyzik Pipes Up
Treasury CIO Jim Flyzik was in the midst of testifying before the House
Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee on Sept.
12 when he used the term "stovepiped." Panel Chairman Stephen Horn (R-Calif.)
interrupted and asked him to define the term.
Flyzik explained that it refers to agencies that do not cooperate but
instead work independently, such as old-fashioned heating stoves whose output
goes up separate pipes. Horn promised to place an asterisk in the official
record, noting "Flyzik's view" of stovepipes. "Thank you, sir," Flyzik replied.
"It's nice to know I will have a legacy."