Interior Net systems ordered shut down

Monday, 30 June 2003, 1:38 PM EST

.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said the government left him little choice when it refused to allow a court-appointed special master to test the measures in place to protect the Indian money.

"You put the ball in my court," Lamberth told Justice Department attorney John Warshawsky.

Warshawsky said the ruling doesn't make sense. "I have to say at the outset that what you are doing is wrong," he told Lamberth.

Dennis Gingold, the attorney for the Indian plaintiffs, argued that without the tests, there could be no assurances that the Indian money is safe from hackers. The plaintiffs say the government squandered $137 billion from the trust fund over more than a century.

In December 2001, Lamberth ordered the department to disconnect nearly all of its computers from the Internet after special master Alan Balaran hacked department's porous security system.

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