Spy Software Scandal: Bush Credibility At Stake

Did Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have access to
a U.S. computer tracking program that enabled them to
monitor our intelligence-gathering efforts and financial

If so, who is responsible for allowing the program to
fall into their hands?

And who else among America`s enemies might have
access to the tracking system?

It`s an explosive spy software scandal that no one in
official Washington wants to investigate.

This complex, tangled story began two decades ago,
when a tiny private company called

Inslaw, Inc.,
developed a software package to help
U.S. attorneys` offices in large urban districts keep
tabs on their criminal prosecutors` caseloads. The
program, dubbed the Prosecutor`s Management Information
System (PROMIS), was effective and popular. It allowed a
prosecutor to locate defendants and witnesses, track
motions, and monitor ongoing investigations. In 1982,
Inslaw won a large Justice Department contract to
implement the system nationwide.

In the meantime, Inslaw also developed
privately-owned enhancements to PROMIS. Despite
contractual guarantees of Inslaw`s proprietary rights to
the enhanced version of PROMIS, the Justice Department
essentially commandeered the improved program for its
own uses without paying for it. Inslaw was forced into
bankruptcy and began an endless fight with the Justice
Department to recoup its losses.

In the course of their court battles, Inslaw founder
Bill Hamilton and his wife innocently stumbled upon
shocking national security revelations. Former Attorney
General Ed Meese, the Hamiltons concluded, had conspired
to force Inslaw into bankruptcy so that an old Meese
crony, California businessman Earl Brian, could take
over the company`s assets.

The Hamiltons obtained information through sworn
affidavits of several individuals that suggested Meese,
Brian, high-ranking Justice Department official Peter
Videnieks and others wanted to modify and distribute the
enhanced PROMIS software with “back-door” capabilities
for covert intelligence operations.  

Sound preposterous?

In 1987, a federal judge blasted the Justice
Department for stealing PROMIS. The government, Judge
Bason said, stole Inslaw`s software through
"trickery, fraud, and deceit"
with "contempt for
both the law and any principle of fair dealing."
House Judiciary Committee also found in 1992 that there
was "strong evidence" the

Justice Department
had conspired to steal the PROMIS
program. An internal Justice Department memo made public
by the committee revealed that the Justice Department
had secretly turned over a copy of PROMIS to the Israeli

An extensive four-part series by Insight
magazine reporter Kelly Patricia O`Meara

a lengthy investigation by the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police two years ago, which
“uncovered a network involving friend and foe alike that
may be using PROMIS and systems like it for a variety of
illegal activities worldwide.”

In June 2001, Jerry Seper of the Washington Times

that former FBI agent and convicted spy
Robert Hanssen sold an enhanced version of PROMIS for $2
million to Russian crime figures, who in turn are
suspected of selling a black-market version of it to
Osama bin Laden.

More recently, the International Currency Review,
a London-based financial newsletter, reportedly
obtained Iraqi intelligence documents alleging that
PROMIS came into Saddam Hussein`s possession under the
Bush I administration. The publication`s editor says the
documents were owned by Hussein`s half-brother, Barzan
al Takriti.

And last week, British news outlets

that the resignation of top Bush terrorism
intelligence official

Paul Redmond
was tied to his investigation of
Hanssen and the PROMIS theft. The Department of Homeland
Security claims that Redmond, a legendary spy catcher
who came out of retirement to take the Bush
administration position and had served only three
months, left for

“health reasons.”

The odor of a cover-up is unmistakable. To this day,
the Justice Department, FBI, and other government
agencies continue to insist that they have never
possessed or used any pirated version of PROMIS. Career
Justice officials who oversaw the theft of the Hamiltons`
software program in the 1980s remain in place today.

And according to my sources, the

9/11 Commission
created by President Bush has
declined to investigate this spy software fiasco and its
possible role in facilitating the terrorist attacks on

Inslaw deserves to be compensated. More importantly,
the American people deserve to know the truth once: Did
government greed and bureaucratic hubris lead to a
wholesale sellout of our national security?

The Bush White House`s credibility is on the line.

Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores

for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click

for Michelle Malkin`s website.