FROM THE ARCHIVE
Judge holding secret trust fund hearings
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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2001

Update: Judge Lamberth has unsealed the security report. He will hold a hearing in federal court on December 5 at 10 a.m. to consider shutting down all of the Interior's computer systems in order to protect individual and tribal trust assets. 5:00 p.m. EST.

The federal judge overseeing the Cobell v. Norton class action lawsuit is continuing to hold secret hearings over the security of the computer network that houses the individual and trust accounts.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth met with attorneys for both the government and the plaintiffs representing approximately 300,000 individual account holders. The exact substance of the meeting was not known but he scheduled it after the security issue was raised during a public status hearing last Friday.

Previously, Lamberth has hinted he will make a decision about a number of documents regarding computer information technology. On Thanksgiving eve, he met privately with two Department of Justice attorneys, who told him they opposed making any reports public.

Lamberth's special master, Alan Balaran, has concluded his first report on security. According to Native American Rights Fund attorney Keith Harper, it is devastating.

"Of all the reports and all the revelations that have come forward, this is perhaps the most damning of the government's reckless nature," said Harper on Native American Calling yesterday. "When this is revealed, thus will be a bombshell because it demonstrates in no uncertain terms the complete recklessness of their management of their trust."

"It's really mind boggling that they let it get to this stage," he said.

It is not known when Lamberth will make his ruling. He is holding another session with attorneys today.

The producers of the Wall Street Journal have asked to make all currently sealed documents public.

Today on Indianz.Com:
McCaleb doubts tribal opposition (12/4)
Trust fund report still can't be found (12/4)
Tribal leaders worried about consultation (12/4)
GOP push may be tied to Indian preference (12/4)
Indian leader happy for contempt trial (12/4)

Relevant Links:
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

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