Micky mouse called to the NSA.

Matthew X 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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