US panel objects to Israeli software takeover

The same Bush administration review panel that approved a ports deal involving the United Arab Emirates has notified a leading Israeli software company that it faces a rare, full-blown investigation over its plans to buy a smaller rival. The company was told US officials feared the transaction could endanger some of government's most sensitive computer systems. The objections by the FBI and Pentagon were partly over specialized intrusion detection software known as "Snort," which guards some classified US military and intelligence computers. Snort's author is a senior executive at Sourcefire Inc., which would be sold to publicly traded Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. in Ramat Gan, Israel. Sourcefire is based in Columbia, Maryland. The contrast between the administration's handling of the $6.8 billion (€5.69 billion) Dubai ports deal and the Israeli company's $225 (€188.22) million technology purchase offers an uncommon glimpse into the US government's choices to permit some deals but raise deep security concerns over others.