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Computer virus cripples security screening software for visas
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State Department-AP -- Blame it on a computer virus.

The State Department was forced to stop issuing visas overnight, after a computer virus infected the electronic system that checks applicants for terrorist or criminal backgrounds.

The virus crippled the department's Consular Lookout and Support System -- known as CLASS, which contains intelligence files on about 78-thousand suspected terrorists. It is designed to block a visa from being printed unless the applicant's name has been fully processed.

The system is now back up and running.

The State Department has invested heavily in the CLASS system since the Nine-Eleven attacks, more than doubling the number of names that applicants are checked against.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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