Micky mouse called to the NSA.
profrv at nex.net.au
Thu Apr 8 04:02:29 PDT 1999
LOS ANGELES -- Eric Haseltine is moving from one top-secret organization to
Uncle Sam has plucked Walt Disney Co.'s chief of research and development
to become head of research for the National Security Agency, which uses
highly sophisticated technology to gather intelligence and break codes to
protect sensitive government information systems.
Haseltine worked for a decade at Walt Disney Imagineering, the company's
design and development group. As such, he would seem an unlikely choice for
his new government mission. But the worlds of the NSA and Walt Disney
Imagineering aren't so dissimilar. Both organizations include a diverse
group of top-level scientists and share a penchant for security and secrecy
(Disney won't say how many scientists it employees). There's a certain
institutional quality to the unmarked, drab buildings that make up the
sprawling Walt Disney Imagineering complex in Glendale, Calif.
Beyond developing innovative ride systems for theme parks, Disney's
research and development team also has expertise in areas with military
applications, including virtual-reality technology and information systems.
Disney scientists are at the forefront of interactive TV and developing
systems for protecting the company against Internet piracy.
Haseltine, 50, who holds a doctorate in physiological psychology, also is
no stranger to the defense world. He spent 13 years at Hughes Aircraft Co.,
where he also managed R&D projects and was known as a leading expert on
flight simulation. He joined Disney in 1992.
His new job will not be built around family fun. His role will be to lead a
research and technology team for the spy agency, a division of the
Department of Defense that employs 30,000. Neither NSA nor Haseltine will
detail his exact responsibilities.
"I'm taking the job because I want to contribute my skills to helping the
country," said Haseltine. "I'm particularly motivated because of what
happened on September 11. Under ordinary circumstances, I would never have
dreamed of leaving Disney, but these aren't ordinary circumstances."
Richard Verrier can be reached at richard.verrier at latimes.com or
1-800-528-4637, Ext. 77936.
"The business of America is none of your business."
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