August 1, 2003 | Washington PostJohn M. Poindexter, the retired rear admiral involved in the Pentagon's ill-fated plan to launch an online futures market for betting on Middle Eastern developments, will be leaving his job with a Defense Department research agency, a senior defense official said yesterday. The departure had been demanded by lawmakers outraged over the notion that the Pentagon should set up a system enabling people to profit from predictions of terrorist attacks and other events. Poindexter, who has not spoken publicly about the initiative since it sparked a political firestorm Monday, has headed the office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) responsible for developing the trading program. The project, known as the Policy Analysis Market, was conceived by Michael Foster, a math and computer science specialist who joined DARPA in 2000 as a program manager, on temporary assignment from the National Science Foundation, according to several people familiar with the project's history. One of his models for creating a market that could help the Pentagon predict events was the political futures market at the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, which has proven better than pollsters and pundits in predicting the outcome of presidential elections. A version of the story also ran Aug. 1 on the website of the MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE.
Contact: Robert Forsythe