The March 14 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, March 7) focu…

The March 14 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, March 7) focuses on “People Power” across the Arab world. Fareed Zakaria writes about where George W. Bush was right in his Middle East policy, and Christopher Dickey looks at the promise and pitfalls ahead for the region. Also, Bush’s road show to sell his social security plan, and Condoleezza Rice’s rise in stature. Plus, a profile of alpine skier Bode Miller and a look at a new Hollywood casting trend.(PRNewsFoto)[MN]

Senator Leahy on Upcoming Identity Theft Hearings:
‘Obviously the Question of the Stock Sale Will Come Up’

NEW YORK, March 6 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — Last Friday, ChoicePoint Inc. — a company in the business of tracking and selling sensitive information like credit histories and Social Security numbers — said the Securities and
Exchange Commission had launched an informal inquiry into the sale of millions
of dollars of company stock by ChoicePoint chief executive Derek Smith and
president Doug Curling. The sale came soon after the firm discovered a major
security breach last September that potentially exposed 145,000 people to
identity theft. After it was fully disclosed last month, the bad news
triggered a sharp drop in ChoicePoint’s stock price. But in the March 14 issue
of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, March 7), Senior Writer Charles Gasparino
and Special Correspondent Kathryn Williams report that the SEC is also looking
at the sales from another angle: whether the company failed to disclose
important, potentially market-moving information at a time when company
insiders were selling stock, one person with knowledge of the inquiry says.
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A company spokeswoman says Smith and Curling did nothing wrong, and adds
that they were asked in writing in November by the Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department to hold off disclosing the breach until at least January,
because publicity might compromise the investigation. (The company declined to
provide a copy of the letter, but read a portion of it to Newsweek.) But Lt.
Robert Costa of the LASD told Newsweek that ChoicePoint might be
misrepresenting the intent of the letter, written by one of his detectives.
Costa said he informed ChoicePoint to begin disclosing its problems in early
November, not long after the company reported the matter to his office. He
says the department didn’t tell ChoicePoint to hold off disclosing the
problem-only to quickly hand over the names of the potential victims first.
On Friday ChoicePoint also disclosed that the Federal Trade Commission had
started investigating the security breach. And Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont,
ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to soon hold hearings
on identity theft, Gasparino and Williams report. “Obviously the question of
the stock sale will come up,” says Leahy.

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