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FAA Y2K Report Withheld
By Robert MacMillan, Newsbytes. January 08, 2000
The two leading members of the House Science Committee withheld a key General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and security lapses to avoid a jaundiced public reaction during the heady days preceding the Year 2000 date change.
Science Committee Spokesman Jeff Lungren told Newsbytes that Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Ranking Democrat Ralph Hall, D-Texas, did not suppress the report, as was reported by the Associated Press and a Milwaukee newspaper. Instead, he said, they opted to send a draft version of the report to the White House before releasing the report within the required 30 days of its reception in the Science Committee.
The report is scheduled for release Tuesday, but Lungren would not provide specifics. He said that Sensenbrenner still must approve the release, but is unavailable because he currently is in Taiwan. Hall also must give his approval, but also is not in Washington, D.C., at the moment.
White House officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment, though Sensenbrenner reportedly told White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger that the option to release the GAO report was Berger's.
Lungren confirmed Sensenbrenner's statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the GAO report shows that security lapses were committed at the FAA during its attempts to reach Year 2000 compliance.
He said the report shows that some of the outside contractors brought in to correct Year 2000 problems did not possess the proper clearance. In addition, he said, the report raised other security issues that were "larger than just Y2K."
These issues currently remain undisclosed, though Lungren said that no one has discovered any security "compromises" despite the fact that the stage apparently was set for them.
Lungren also said that releasing the report in the midst of uncertainty and concern about unexpected consequences of the Year 2000 problem could have produced an adverse public reaction.
"Sometimes in the public discourse... there was some anxiety with the Y2K issue, and sometimes things can be taken out of context," he said.
As Newsbytes reported, the FAA's Year 2000 preparations were largely successful, with Administrator Jane Garvey, Senate Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Slade Gorton, R-Wash., and White House Year 2000 point man John Koskinen all taking commercial flights during crucial date change times on Dec. 31, 1999.
Reported by Newsbytes.com
-- snooze button (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 2000
I have no idea what he means when he says "jaundiced" reaction or "heady days." I mean, I know what the words mean. I just don't know what he's trying to indicate.
-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), January 09, 2000.