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Unfortunately it looks as though some Department of the Interior Web Sites had private internal "indian trust data" on them. They were required by the District Court to shut down all Internet access incoming and outgoing until they could be audited and found to have no remaining "indian trust data" online for public access. The press release from the Secretary of the Department of the Interior is shown below.

I will be watching this situation closely and once the problem is resolved I will put the Bureau of Reclamation Hydromet reports back online. This information was previously found at:

December 6, 2001

To: All Employees

From: J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary

Subject: Disconnection of Internet Service

On Wednesday December 5, 2001, District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth:

" ... ORDERED that defendants shall immediately disconnect from the Internet all information technology systems that house or provide access to individual Indian trust data; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that defendants shall immediately disconnect from the Internet all computers within the custody and control of the Department of the Interior, its employees and contractors, that have access to individual Indian trust data"

On Wednesday [December 5, 2001] evening, each Interior Department agency was informed about the court's directives and was instructed to comply. Although most Interior agencies acted in a timely manner, in a couple of instances, misunderstanding delayed immediate compliance. To the best of my knowledge, all relevant Interior agencies have disconnected their computer Internet access and the Department's external network connections have been shut down.

Consistent with the court order, the Department has moved quickly to ensure that trust management related information has been isolated. As a result of the actions that we have taken, all inbound and outbound Internet network traffic should be unable to get through.

In meeting the requirements of the court, our ability to conduct a large portion of our daily business has been impacted. For this reason, we are working aggressively and diligently with our information technology staff to seek an acceptable way to restore operations, while ensuring compliance with the court order. Until further notice, continued compliance with the court order is required.

We appreciate your cooperation and patience, as we work through this situation. As new information becomes available, we will keep you apprised of the status.


Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
For Immediate Release: Dec. 8, 2001 202-208-6416

New Court Order Grants Interior Department Limited
Access to Internet
Interior Agencies with safety and emergency related responsibilities
are allowed to reconnect to Internet service

WASHINGTON --The U.S. Department of the Interior was today granted permission by U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth to reconnect the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to the Internet, following an emergency hearing held this morning.

"We appreciate Judge Lamberth's decision to hear our emergency motion for partial relief and we will comply with his order," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

Judge Lamberth's order authorizes the department to reconnect to the Internet information technology systems that no longer house or provide access to individual Indian trust data. The department is required to file verifying affidavits for each agency that is reconnected to the Internet. Additionally, with the exception of USGS and NIFC, 24 hours notice of a reconnection must be provided to the court's special master and to plaintiffs' counsel.

USGS, which has now disconnected any access, will reconnect to the Internet today and provide verification on Monday, Dec. 10. NIFC, also disconnected, will connect as soon as possible.

"It is important for public health and safety reasons that these two entities get back on the Internet as quickly as possible," Norton said.

USGS is responsible for issuing disaster warnings for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, tsunami (tidal wave) or geomagnetic storm. These warning systems rely on Internet access. The bureau is also actively involved in homeland security. NIFC, which is housed in Idaho, operates a highly sophisticated fire protection system and relies on the Internet for communication with other fire agencies.

Deputy Secretary Steve Griles will continue to work with the department's information technology office and other Interior bureaus to determine whether they meet criteria for reconnecting to the Internet.

Attorneys for Interior and the Department of Justice requested today's emergency hearing citing the potentially severe impacts following implementation of a Dec. 5 Temporary Restraining Order to immediately disconnect from the Internet all Interior agencies' information technology systems and all computers that house or provide access to individual Indian trust data.


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