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A computer programmer at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services was last week sacked after running Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) software on his bosses' server, wcpo.com reports.

Charles E. Smith, 63, claimed that it wasn't a problem since he was only running the SETI programme between 7pm and 7am and at weekends. Department director Tom Hayes clearly didn't see it like that, and showed Smith the door. Hayes later displayed the kind of biting wit which was doubtless instrumental in his rise to power at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services when he said of Smith: "I understand his desire to search for intelligent life in outer space, because obviously he doesn't find it in the mirror in the morning. I think that people can be comfortable that security has beamed this man out of our building."

Wcpo.com has attempted to contact Smith but he has to date proved as elusive as ET. ®

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