Beverley Lumpkin: Halls of Justice

As one aide put it, rolling his eyes, she always wants to talk to every last person and hear every last argument before making a decision. The fact there’s no deadline certainly doesn’t help. There is virtually no likelihood she will accede to his request.

TACKLING CARNIVORE-PHOBIA

Last week Reno had said she wanted to “review” Carnivore, the FBI’s new e-mail sniffer.

This week, she said “as a result of that review, we’re contemplating a two-step process. The first step will be to have an individual expert or a group of experts, probably from an academic community, conduct a detailed review of the source code.

“Those experts will report their findings to a panel of interested parties, people from the telecommunications and computer industries, as well as privacy experts.”

She said she’s very anxious for the process to get under way, and that the FBI is currently meeting with industry reps and privacy advocates to develop a protocol for the review.

FOLLOWING THE MONEY IN NEW JERSEY

It is certainly true, as the New York Times recently reported, that prosecutors are now examining the role New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli’s personal and campaign staff may have played in the numerous cases of illegal contributions made to his 1996 campaign.

But it is far from clear yet, according to Justice officials, that anything will come of it. It’s basically a no-brainer, once the task force had rolled up all the illegal donors, to follow the trail into the office and see what if anything the candidate’s staff may have known about the violations.

A source close to Torricelli says prosecutors still have not identified any problem with anybody in the senator’s office or on his campaign staff.

The senator, who has been told he’s not a target, is cooperating with the investigation, according to the source.

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Beverley Lumpkin has covered the Justice Department for ABCNEWS for 14 years. Halls of Justice appears every Friday.

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