The government may seek a search warrant or subpoenas to get documents from Cornell University before the FBI tries to interview the graduate student who is the focus of a computer "virus" probe, federal law enforcement sources say.
Thomas Guidoboni, the lawyer for Robert Morris Jr., said Tuesday he hasn't been contacted by the FBI since informing the bureau that he was representing the 23-year-old student."The ball's in their (the FBI's) court; we're waiting to hear from them," said Guidoboni.
Prior to the Morris family's retaining Guidoboni, the bureau had sought to question the student, said his father, Robert Morris Sr. of Arnold, Md.
Guidoboni said he didn't think "we'll have enough information by the end of this week" to determine whether to talk to the FBI and that he wants to talk more with his client before deciding what course of action to take.
The possibility of seeking grand jury subpoenas or a search warrant for data at Cornell that could shed light on the computer virus incident was considered Tuesday within the FBI. It was discarded as being unnecessary and then revived in discussions with Justice Department lawyers, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
M. Stuart Lynn, the university's vice president for information technologies, reiterated that Cornell will cooperate fully with the investigation.
The virus paralyzed more than 6,000 university and military computers nationwide last Wednesday and Thursday.
A computer virus is a tiny program that invades data processors and disrupts normal operation of the machines. A virus duplicates itself, spreading into other programs in the computer and infecting one computer after another as users share floppy disks or link up over telephone lines.
The virus last week apparently rapidly duplicated itself, thereby slowing computers' processing speed and taking up their memory space.