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Pentagon Reverses Order to Destroy Old Hard Drives
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 11:44:35 -0500 (CDT)


Friday June 8 10:31 AM ET 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Defense Department no longer has to destroy
hard drives of all old unclassified computers going to the public, in
a reversal of a six-month-old policy installed during a heightened
focus on security, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz rescinded the January policy
with the goal of making more computers available for schools and other
non-profit organizations.

The Pentagon will have to overwrite the hard drives of computers being
donated or going to the public, which it had done for years before the
January edict.

Overwriting a hard drive makes it more difficult to reconstruct the
information than just erasing it, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Computer hard drives with classified information still must be
destroyed, the Pentagon said.

In fiscal 2000, the Defense Department donated more than 74,000 pieces
of computer equipment to schools, it said.

The short-lived policy of destroying hard drives on unclassified
computers came during a time of sharp focus on security after several
high-profile cases.

In one case former CIA Director John Deutch, who was also a former
deputy defense secretary, was found to have put classified information
on unclassified home computers.

Deutch apologized for his actions and former President Bill Clinton
pardoned him of any wrongdoing in computer lapses before leaving

Government investigations have found no evidence that any of the
classified information on Deutch's computers was compromised.

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