Nation digest 11/12/02

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

U.S. cracks case of British computer hacker

WASHINGTON -- Federal authorities have cracked the case of an international hacker who broke into roughly 100 unclassified U.S. military networks over the past year, officials said Monday.

Officials declined to identify the hacker, a British citizen, but said he could be indicted as early as today in federal courts in northern Virginia and New Jersey. Those U.S. court jurisdictions include the Pentagon in Virginia and Picatiny Arsenal in New Jersey, one of the Army's premier research facilities.

The officials declined Monday to say whether this person was already in custody, but one familiar with the investigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said investigators consider the break-ins the work of a professional hacker.

Pilot who hit skyscraper nearly hit Air Force tower

TAMPA, Fla. -- A teenage student pilot who committed suicide by crashing into a downtown skyscraper had nearly hit the control tower at an Air Force base that houses a nerve center for the war in Afghanistan, a government report said.

Charles Bishop, 15, flew his stolen Cessna "just a few feet" over the control tower at MacDill Air Force Base during the Jan. 5 flight, according to the National Transportation Safety Board report released Monday.

The NTSB did not speculate on whether Bishop, who left a suicide note expressing admiration for Osama bin Laden, had intended the base as his target. The base is home to the U.S. Central Command, which plays a crucial role in directing the war in Afghanistan.

Bishop slammed the aircraft into the 28th floor of the Bank of America Plaza in downtown Tampa. Nobody else was hurt.

No. 2 at Hewlett-Packard quits, may join WorldCom

NEW YORK -- Michael Capellas quit Monday as the No. 2 executive at Hewlett-Packard Co., just hours after a newspaper reported he is a leading candidate to take over troubled WorldCom Inc.

Capellas, who went to Hewlett-Packard in May as part of its $19 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp., is leaving to "pursue other career opportunities," according to an HP statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Capellas, who had been Compaq's chief executive before becoming Hewlett-Packard's president, had become the front-runner to succeed WorldCom CEO John W. Sidgmore.

The Journal also said other executives are still being considered by WorldCom's search committee.

Enron removes 'tilted-E' signs from headquarters

HOUSTON -- Enron Corp. made its headquarters a little less conspicuous over the weekend.

The bankrupt energy giant's trademark "tilted-E" signs were removed from outside the glass 50-story building, as was a wall mounted version of the logo at a lobby reception desk that was visible from the street.

Spokeswoman Karen Denne said Monday the two outside signs were put in storage. The signs, along with other surplus Enron equipment and memorabilia, will be sold at auctions next year intended to raise money for creditors.

The featured vowel at Enron's third auction, Dec. 3-5, should be the rotating black tilted E that once lit up part of the lobby at the company's headquarters, Denne said. That sign was placed in storage two weeks ago.

Report: NYC police chief wants federal money

NEW YORK -- The city's police commissioner is seeking federal money for the police force, arguing that the department should be compensated for its contributions to national defense.

Police commissioner Ray Kelly said the department should be entitled to federal aid because it assigned so many officers to counterterrorism duties after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The New York Times reported Monday.

An aide to Kelly said the commissioner is seeking $261 million from the federal government to cover protection and detection equipment and overtime that the department hopes to use for specialized training.

-- From wire reports

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