Agency Didn't Steal Software, Court Says

By Abrahms, Doug | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 6, 1997 | Go to article overview

Agency Didn't Steal Software, Court Says


Abrahms, Doug, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


District-based Inslaw Inc. lost another court battle last week in its long-running battle to prove the Justice Department stole software from the computer company.

The Court of Federal Claims on Friday rejected allegations made by Inslaw, which has been battling the Justice Department in various lawsuits for more than a decade. Judge Christine Miller ruled that the government, not Inslaw, owned the software that had been installed on Justice Department computers.

"Certainly, the department benefits from the lifting of the cloud that has hung over it for a decade," said Assistant Attorney General Frank Hunger.

For nearly a decade, Inslaw's fight against the Justice Department has been championed by members of Congress, former Attorney General Elliot Richardson and conspiracy theorists. Inslaw executives argued that U.S. intelligence agencies were disseminating the company's software for free overseas.

Inslaw was even linked to the suicide of Daniel Casolaro, a free-lance writer whose body was discovered in a West Virginia hotel in 1991. Mr. Casolaro's relatives said he had been working on book involving Inslaw and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) - an international bank that was seized for fraud in 1991 - and raised the possibility that he might have been murdered.

But the latest court ruling is not the last word - Inslaw can appeal the decision to a three-judge panel of the federal claims court.

Neither William Hamilton, president of Inslaw, nor the company's attorney, Charles Work, could be reached for comment yesterday.

"This is the most complex and egregious government-contracting case I've ever seen," said Terry Miller, president of Government Sales Consultants Inc., which helps vendors sell goods and services to federal agencies. …

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