BIA aides e-mail use prompts inquiry
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A court investigator for the Indian trust fund lawsuit said on Monday he was concerned about the Internet habits of senior Bureau of Indian Affairs officials.

Special master Alan Balaran cited an e-mail exchange between two aides to Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb. Dan DuBray, special assistant for communications, and Aurene Martin, deputy assistant secretary, have been transmitting government-related documents via the public Internet.

"The fact that two members of the same office correspond via the Internet suggests that this may be a common mode of communication between BIA employees, including senior officials," Balaran wrote in a letter. "These is also nothing on the face of this e-mail to indicate such communications are policed for content or sanitized of 'trust information.'"

The BIA is under a court-ordered shutdown of its Internet access due to inadequate computer security protections. Employees have the ability to send documents internally with the agency.

But DuBray sent a press release concerning McCaleb's erasing of e-mail using his own personal account, outside of the BIA. The practice effectively thwarts the court's order against using insecure computer systems.

Balaran has asked the Department of Justice to determine the extent of such usage. A response has been requested this week.

Get the Story:
Balaran Letter on DuBray E-mail (December 16, 2002) | Dan DuBray E-mail to Aurene Martin (October 21, 2002)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
Trust Reform, NCAI -

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