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Defense Week Daily Update
February 19, 2002
Army: Honey, I Shrunk My Enron Past
By John M. Donnelly

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19--The Army today gave its reasons for editing nearly out of existence references to Enron in the Army secretary's official homepage biography. The redaction was done to save space on the page and to ensure that Thomas White's history included more words about the future, a spokesman said. Before the edit, White's bio included about 120 words near the top on his 11 years at Enron Energy Services. As of last week, all that verbiage had been trimmed to one small sentence-which was moved to the end of the page. To many observers, that seemed like an effort to rewrite history and soft-pedal the secretary's Enron past, which has drawn scrutiny from reporters and congressional investigators, who want to know his possible role in allegedly hiding at least $500 million in losses at the Enron unit. Also, the Office of Government Ethics is investigating whether White fully disclosed his ownership of Enron stock after he became Army secretary. The heavy editing of the Internet bio was done not to downplay the Enron controversy, a spokesman said, but to save space and emphasize White's current responsibilities and plans. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Larry Gottardi said the Army's web-page editors had changed the bio's font size from 10-pitch to 12-pitch, but still wanted to fit the document on a single page. So something had to go, and they picked Enron, he said. Also, he said, the Army thought it was time to put the past behind. "With the secretary of the Army coming up on one year in office, we thought it was time to put in [the bio] his intent and vision for the Army," instead of the Enron material, said Gottardi. Defense Week first asked the Army to explain the edits one week ago.