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by CSO Contributor

Tough Security Questions for Ex-FBI Chief and AG; Bush Considering Review of Intelligence Services; Mystery Power Outage Means Big Casino Losses; Public Safety Radios Stymied by Cell Towers

Apr 13, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Tough Security Questions for Ex-FBI Chief and AG

According to The New York Times, Louis J. Freeh, the hard-driving ex-judge and prosecutor who led the F.B.I. through the 1990s, will testify today before the Sept. 11 commission with his reputation under siege because of criticism of the bureau’s performance before the Sept. 11 attacks. Freeh retired from the bureau in June 2001 with a reputation as a savvy, independent leader who expanded the bureau’s international presence to help fight terrorism. But when he testifies, the Times writes, he is likely to face tough questions about why the agency was not in a better position to anticipate and perhaps prevent the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and why he did not do more to upgrade the bureau’s antiquated computer systems. Attorney General John Ashcroft will also testify later today. The Times offers full 9/11 Commission coverage.Bush Considering Review of Intelligence ServicesWashington Post story available on Mercury News and elsewhere, President Bush said yesterday that he is contemplating a major overhaul of the nation’s intelligence services. That could shift some attention about the administration’s response to pre-attack warnings from the White House to the CIA and FBI. Bush has come under renewed scrutiny because of a newly declassified document showing he was warned a month before the attacks about Al-Qaida’s presence in the United States and its interest in hijackings and a suspected desire to hit Washington and downtown Manhattan. The intelligence review also could affect the campaign debate over Bush’s decision to invade Iraq using information that turned out to be erroneous. Iraq and the administration’s response to threats before the attacks will be prominent topics in a prime-time news conference Bush has scheduled for tonight.

According to a

Mystery Power Outage Means Big Casino LossesLas Vegas Review Journal today, power problems, which started about 2:00 a.m. Easter morning, led Bellagio officials to begin closing the property Sunday. The resort began moving guests to other properties and sending many of its 8,000 employees home because its backup power system had to be shut down. Feldman said whatever caused the initial power failure was not the responsibility of Nevada Power. There was also no indication that sabotage caused the initial blackout, he said, although an investigation will be started as soon as power is restored, and will include that possibility. The Review Journal quotes Deutsche Bank analyst Marc Falcone, who says by the best estimates available, the closure will likely cost the company just under $1 billion in cash flow, a key measure of profitability.

The Bellagio casino in Las Vegas was closed and completely powered down Monday as workers continued efforts to repair systems damaged by an “unknown” electrical trauma early Easter Sunday, company spokesman Alan Feldman said. According to the

Public Safety Radios Stymied by Cell TowersThe Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the problem has worsened in recent years, and it exists nationwide. Federal Communications Commissioners are now voting—in private and electronically—on a remedy heavily promoted by Nextel. The company proposes to spend $850 million on disentangling public safety and cellular frequencies, but in return wants a stretch of virgin spectrum valued by some analysts at $5 billion, according to the P-I. A decision is expected within the next few weeks, and Nextel’s competitors are up in arms.

First responders have encountered problems communicating with each other for years, particularly in high-traffic areas. The problem comes from cellular services, predominantly Nextel, sharing the same radio frequency as public safety agencies, a setup arranged more than 10 years ago when few foresaw how prevalent cell phones would become. With cellular service increasing daily, reports