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July 25, 2007 

SEC Temporily Suspends Terrrorist Reporting Web Tool

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has "temporarily suspended" the controversial Web tool that was recently posted on the agency's Web site to permit investors to obtain information from company disclosure documents about their business interests in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syrian and North Korea, countries that have been designated by the U.S. as "State Sponsors of Terrorism".

In a press release, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said:

To address these and related concerns, we are temporarily suspending the availability of the web tool while it undergoes reconstruction. We will work to improve the web tool so that it meets the various concerns that have been expressed. Alternatively, our staff is considering whether the use of interactive data tags applied by companies themselves could permit investors, analysts and others to easily discover this disclosure without need of an SEC-provided web tool at all. In the interim, the companies' disclosure regarding their business contacts in the five nations will continue to be available through the SEC's EDGAR database, and findable using our new full-text search capability.
As indicated by a recent story in Investment News, the SEC's tool was widely criticized by politicians, lawyers and business interests for providing incomplete and inaccurate misinformation that could actually mislead, rather than help, investors. Even the Genocide Intervention Network's Sudan Divestment Task Force criticized the SEC site in a Wall Street Journal editorial, saying "not only has the SEC named and shamed the wrong companies, it's missed many with significant operations in countries like Sudan."

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