The Circuit

Schambach to Get Nod?

The new Transportation Security Administration has garnered significant attention since its formation following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Now through the power of association, so has Patrick Schambach.

People were buzzing last week that Schambach has been tapped as chief information officer and chief technology officer for TSA, a particularly significant role given its commitment to fighting terrorism with technology.

He will come to the fledgling agency from the Treasury Department, where he is assistant director and chief information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' Office of Science and Technology. The official announcement, we hear, is expected soon.

It's Tough Everywhere

Top officials from the intelligence community expressed their growing frustration over homeland security this month while attending the Federal Convention on Emerging Technologies in Las Vegas.

Their beef is simple. The USA Patriot Act, which gives investigators broad power to track terrorists, did not provide authority for intelligence agencies to work with federal law enforcement, much less state and local officials.

Michael Dunlavey, assistant to the director of the National Security Agency and director for homeland security at the agency, said one of the biggest problems is that the government might have information about a threat, but can't get it to the right people in time because of the clearance process.

Magic Lantern Kept in Dark

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) wants the FBI to shed light on its newest computer snooping technology, "Magic Lantern."

Paul is worried that the FBI has developed the ability to plant a snooping worm in any computer via the Internet and then record its keystrokes. He had a legislative aide ask for details, but the FBI's Congressional Liaison Office refused, saying information on Magic Lantern remains classified.

Unsatisfied, Paul sent a formal request to FBI Director Robert Mueller Jan. 14, asking for written justification for refusing to provide the details. The FBI's burgeoning capability for electronic surveillance troubles Paul, a spokesman said. "As far as we're concerned, there are constitutional requirements that the government has got to meet before it can search you."

Information Central

The National Library of Medicine has launched a Web site in response to the public clamor for more information on anthrax, smallpox and biological warfare. The site (www.sis.nlm.nih.gov/Tox/biologicalwarfare.htm) features a short, general description of biological warfare and detailed information about some deadly chemicals.

Jeanne Goshorn, chief of NLM's biomedical information services branch, said the agency had talked about launching sites related to chemical and biological warfare for more than two years. The officials decided to proceed only with the chemical site. But after Sept. 11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, "we decided to revisit the issue of doing [the biological warfare] one, too," she said.

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