John McCaslin

In a statement accompanying his request, Mr. Happer said: "I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow. Based on my experience, I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken."

In his interview with writer Raymond Brusca, Mr. Happer argued that carbon dioxide is not warming the planet: "Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that's a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult."

66 TO GO

The Internal Revenue Service has corrected or mitigated 49 of the 115 information security weaknesses that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported during its last audit, including encrypting sensitive data going across its computerized network.

"However, most of the previously identified weaknesses remain unresolved," the GAO states in a new report. "For example, IRS continues to, among other things, allow sensitive [taxpayer] information, including IDs and passwords for mission-critical applications, to be readily available to any user on its internal network, and grant excessive access to individuals who do not need it."

The IRS relies extensively on computerized systems to collect taxes - about $2.7 trillion in fiscal 2008 and 2007 - process tax returns and enforce the nation's tax laws.

"Effective information security controls are essential to protect financial and taxpayer information from inadvertent or deliberate misuse, improper disclosure, or destruction," the GAO says.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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