FROM THE ARCHIVE

Norton notes 'challenge' of daily work

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2002

Secretary of Interior Gale Norton made an appearance on the radio on Monday, talking briefly about her department's Internet shutdown.

E-mail, web access and other computer systems have been shut down in response to a December 5 court order requiring the protection of individual Indian trust assets. But Norton pointed out that the department has had troubles even before then and did not receive snail mail for a short time.

"It has been a real challenge lately," said Norton during an appearance on the Diane Rehm Show. "We did not get mail because our mail went through the Brentwood facility."

Brentwood is the postal location where anthrax letter had been routed to the Congress. Postal workers there contracted the deadly disease.

Regarding the computer disconnect, Norton was asked by a caller to explain the situation. "Our Internet access was shut down by court decree," she said, mentioning the Individual Indian Money (IIM) class action.

"To ensure that none of the files related to the Indian trust could be accessed," she continued, "we had to shut down the entire Internet system for the department."

Norton did not mention her ongoing contempt trial. But she generally spoke of the lawsuit and the department's recent reaction to it.

"We inherited a problem are that goes back for 130 years," Norton said. "We have been attempting in a few short months to solve those problems and to make significant progress. . . We think that dramatic change is necessary to improve our management."

Listen to the Show:
Interior Secretary Gale Norton (1/14)

Relevant Links:
The Diane Rehm Show - http://www.wamu.org/dr
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com

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