Now you see it ...

Now you see it ...

Here's what some agencies have scrubbed from their Web sites and how they determined what should be removed:

  • Each office within the Energy Department is following guidelines that were issued by deputy secretary Francis S. Blake after Sept. 11, said Alfonso Aguilar, an Energy spokesman, declining to give details of the guideline.

    'The review is ongoing,' Aguilar said. 'Some information may be removed, some may be put back, and some information has already been removed.'

  • The Transportation Department's Office of Pipeline Safety in October removed a geographic information system database on the location of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines from its Web site.

    'The information is not there, and we do not know when it will be put up,' said an analyst with the Research and Special Programs Administration, which oversees the office.

  • In November, the Geological Survey asked 10,000 scientists across 300 offices nationwide to review what they thought could be sensitive information, said Butch Kinerney, a USGS spokesman.

    The agency took down a GIS tool that could overlay maps, which could have been useful for terrorists. The agency also removed information on nuclear sites. On Oct. 12, USGS asked federal depository libraries to destroy copies of a CD-ROM publication with data on public water supplies.

    The agency will revisit the issue every six months and decide what information stays on the Web.

  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics removed GIS data on Sept. 25 and put it back for public access on Nov. 8.

    'We made this decision after reviewing what was available in the public domain and finding that none of the data was exclusive,' deputy director Rick Kowalewski said.

  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Richard A. Meserve said that immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks NRC officials took down the commission's Web site 'because of concerns that it contained information that might be of value to terrorists. We have been repopulating that Web site over time as we've been satisfied that the information is something that we can adequately release.'

    NRC used to put nuclear-plant security, status and incident reports online. NRC officials are still trying to figure out what aspects of the reports can be released or how the NRC will keep the public informed about such issues if those documents remain offline, Meserve said.

    'The challenge, of course, is to make sure they don't contain information in them that would reveal a vulnerability, even if only a short-term vulnerability, at the plant,' Meserve said.

  • NASA CIO Lee Holcomb said the space agency had been working on a sensitive-data policy for about a year before the Sept. 11 attacks.

    NASA looked at the draft policy in a new light after the attacks, out of concern that terrorist threats might be greater than the agency had anticipated, Holcomb said.

    The agency issued its policy in November, and it took about a month to vet the differences among NASA's 10 centers, Holcomb said. Some NASA centers already had pulled what they considered sensitive data.

    'We're actually at a point now where virtually all our centers have pulled sensitive information,' he said.
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