- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Federal authorities are trying to determine whether the confidential, anti-counterfeiting design of a proposed new currency was compromised by a Treasury Department official who has admitted involvement in the attempted theft of at least $30,000 in new bills, federal sources told The Washington Times yesterday.
Thomas M. Janney, chief of currency production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, was part of a team working on a complex, multicolored "next generation" of currency, law enforcement and bureau sources said.
Production of the new currency was set to begin in June, but design problems and other issues put the project behind schedule, bureau sources said.
Mr. Janney, 45, of Damascus, Md., last week told the Secret Service about his involvement in the disappearance about five weeks ago of $30,000 in newly printed currency, which has been recovered, sources familiar with the case said.
The Times first reported Saturday that Mr. Janney had been placed on administrative leave amid an ongoing investigation.
Mr. Janney has not been arrested or charged in the case. Sources said he at first was banned from the bureau's building in Southwest and then resigned Monday after returning under escort for another interview. A spokesman for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing would not confirm the resignation yesterday.
Federal authorities expanded their investigation to determine how many persons are involved and how much money was taken, federal sources have told The Times.
As chief of currency production, Mr. Janney was involved in test runs of the experimental currency, bureau sources said.
With the "cloud of suspicion he's under," investigators will have to determine whether Mr. Janney compromised details of the new design, one said.
Mr. Janney did not return calls seeking comment yesterday at his office or his home.
The Treasury Department oversees the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which designs and prints currency, Federal Reserve notes, Treasury securities, postage stamps, identification cards, certificates and other security documents. The agency, which employs about 2,500 workers, has a budget of $641 million.
Bureau spokesman Larry Felix yesterday said Treasury officials have not made any decision to create and use a "next generation" of currency. "We're just looking at the stuff now," he said.
Mr. Felix denied that Mr. Janney was involved in work on new currency. Asked whether the probe of Mr. Janney means the new design could be compromised, Mr. Felix said "that's absolutely laughable."
"Next generation is not being impacted by the loss of Mr. Janney," he said.
The secrecy of a new currency's design is crucial to combating counterfeiting, which has proliferated with the advance of digital technology.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has spent at least $6 million for a new printing press manufactured in Germany, bureau sources said. The agency will spend more when it purchases and installs two more new presses in its D.C. plant and two in a plant in Fort Worth, Texas, specifically for the new currency, they said.
"There's no doubt about it," one source said. "They're committed to the new currency."
Mr. Felix said the bureau has done operational work not just theoretical research on the new currency.
"I concede to you we have printed tests, some tests, to see if the features stand up to the rigors of our testing process and analysis," he said.
That stage of research would not have brought the new currency under Mr. Janney's jurisdiction over production, Mr. Felix said.
The bureau continually works on possible new currencies, he said, but no formal proposal has been made to the Bush administration.


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