Poindexter first made the headlines for questionable role in Iran-Contra scandal The row over the Pentagon's plan to develop a futures market in possible terrorist acts has once again snared John Poindexter in controversy. Mr Poindexter is the head of the Pentagon's Terrorism Information Awareness office, which developed the software as part of the plan to help the US predict when and where terrorists will strike. A former US national security adviser, Mr Poindexter first hit the headlines for his role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal. Even before the furore over the terrorism futures market blew up this week he had been targeted by journalists, opposition Democratic Party politicians and even computer hackers who questioned why he was given such a sensitive position in the Pentagon last year. Mr Poindexter, a retired navy admiral, was the vice-president of government contractor Syntek Technologies when appointed to his present post last year. The company had been working with the agency to develop Genoa, a computer programme described by experts as a cross between the internet search engine Google and the peer-to-peer file-sharing software Napster. Its developers aimed to carry out surveillance through internet information harvesting. Congress has previously raised security concerns about the scheme. Internet pranksters used his same methods of data investigation to criticise his appointment. In a protest the hackers published Mr Poindexter's personal information, including his social security number, address and home telephone number, on internet sites. The Terrorism Information Awareness office was established in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks under the Pentagon's Defence Research Projects Agency. It aims to root out potential terrorists by electronically gathering, collating and then analysing information from sources such as credit cards, travel, health and school records. The data is gathered from internet sites and phone and fax lines. Mr Poindexter, 66, along with Oliver North and other Reagan administration officials illegally sold weapons to Iran and used the proceeds to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua. When the scandal broke, Mr Poindexter lost his job as national security adviser and was convicted of conspiracy, lying to Congress, defrauding the government and destroying evidence. The convictions were overturned in 1990 under the presidency of President George W. Bush's father. Congress gave Mr Poindexter immunity in exchange for testimony, even though that later proved to be false. Mr Poindexter was appointed national security adviser in December 1985. He held the job until being dismissed following the breaking of the Iran-Contra story a year later and resigned from the National Security Council in November 1986. He was indicted in March 1988 on seven federal offence charges stemming from the scandal, convicted on five and sentenced to six months in jail. The convictions were overturned. The chairman of Democrats Abroad Hong Kong, Michael Ceurvorst, said yesterday a surprising number of officials from Republican president Gerald Ford's administration in the mid-1970s were now serving under Mr Bush. They had also served under Mr Reagan and Mr Bush's father. 'To understand this administration, you need to understand the politics of association and in Poindexter's case, [is he] guilty or not,' Mr Ceurvorst said.