Sunday, July 15, 2007

Los Alamos Security Issues

An opinion by Bruce Simmons

I was reading that Los Alamos, the nation's premier nuclear-weapons laboratory is plagued with more security problems. Barely 10 days after revelations of a security leak of classified material over the Internet, there were two other security breaches with the facility.

In late May, a Los Alamos staffer took his lab laptop (That contained "government documents of a sensitive nature." ) with him on vacation to Ireland. Then the laptop was stolen while in Ireland.

In response, Los Alamos has started calling in laptops and replacing them with desktop models. (Once the horse is out, we start closing the barn doors.)

Then, on June 15th, a Los Alamos scientist fired off an e-mail to colleagues at the Nevada nuclear test site. The e-mail was classified information, and sent it " over the open Internet. (What the heck was he thinking?!)

And to read excuses like the following: "information contained on the computer was of sufficiently low sensitivity that, had the employee followed proper laboratory procedure, he would have been authorized to take it to Ireland." (Sometimes, it's the unclassified info that fills in the information gaps that hostile parties are looking for, so that is the most irresponsible attitude I've ever seen.)

I am incensed that the blatant piss poor security position that Los Alamos seems to have concerning the handling of this country’s most sensitive nuclear energy information.

The report says that if the employee had asked permission, permission would have been given. So be it, but obviously their staff doesn’t feel it’s worth their time to follow security procedures, and to blatantly to be found sending classified material over open internet email really riles me up as intential, and lazy and self serving attitudes.

A classified information system is completely isolated from the public system. To get material into your AOL or Gmail system would require intentional action to remove the material from the classified system,more than likely, via unapproved methods, and load it onto a public domain computer. If what they say is true, this is negligence of the utmost ignorance. There is no possible way to make any simple mistake like this.

Material is classified for a reason. The very few who have security clearances have an incredible burden on their shoulders and there is no mistaking one’s responsibilities or how it’s enacted, as a cleared contractor has to sign an awful lot of paperwork saying they understand the processes.

See the debacle here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19418769/site/newsweek/

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce