Interior yanks Norton's e-mail server overnight

The Interior Department last night disconnected one of two e-mail servers in the office of secretary Gale Norton because of concerns that the system did not comply with court orders in the American Indian trust litigation.

The department reactivated the server today at about 2 p.m., an Interior spokesman said.

'The server was taken down as a precautionary measure, to be certain that the system was operating in accord with court procedures,' Interior spokesman Dan Dubray said. The incident, which began at about 8 p.m. Wednesday, interrupted the e-mail access of many employees, Dubray said.

Interior is operating under court orders that require it to shield American Indian trust information from possible hacking or interception.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered the department to disconnect virtually all its systems from the Internet in December 2001, in the wake of court findings that the trust accounting systems could be hacked easily.

Since then, Interior has restored almost all its Internet connections, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs remains offline.

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