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Byline: Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON _ Its name is Orwellian, its head has a notorious past and its goal has civil libertarians and computer privacy advocates in a frenzy: Let the government troll vast databases of credit-card transactions, medical records and other personal information for signs of terrorist activity.
As more is becoming known about the Total Information Awareness System, a Pentagon research project headed by former Iran-Contra figure John Poindexter, more people are becoming alarmed about the implications.
The Pentagon tried to allay those concerns Wednesday, stressing that it is only "an experimental prototype" and that Poindexter's involvement is limited to the research. But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she plans to introduce legislation to ensure that the project in no way infringes on the privacy rights of Americans.
"This is a panoply, which isn't carefully conscribed and controlled, for a George Orwell America," Feinstein told the San …