Apr 24, 2007

DOE Cleared Dozens of Drug Users

[This just in from a loyal blog reader...]
Members of a congressional subcommittee said during a hearing last week that they were shocked to learn that Quintana, 23, admitted using drugs shortly before her clearance was approved.

Shocked! ... Marijuana! ... At the Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb!?!

What next at this Den of Iniquity, Thieves, and Spies? A Deputy Director ... (HORRORS!) ... taking home Classified on his laptop?

Oh, woe! Oh, DOE!


ABQ Journal
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

DOE Cleared Dozens of Drug Users

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer
The Department of Energy approved security clearances for more than three dozen workers over a 13-month period, despite evidence that those employees had used illegal drugs within the year prior to approval, a department review has found.
Three of those workers— including the former Los Alamos National Laboratory archivist at the center of the lab's most recent security breach— used drugs within a month of clearance approval, the review concluded.
DOE, through its National Nuclear Security Administration, oversees the nation's nuclear weapons labs, including LANL.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman commissioned a task force to examine the department's personnel security program after hundreds of classified LANL documents turned up during a drug investigation at the home of the former archivist, Jessica Quintana.
While the program's existing policies and guidelines are sound and have proven effective over time, they have not been applied consistently, states the task force's report, released publicly last week.
The task force made several recommendations for strengthening the program, including rejecting security clearances for applicants who admit to using illegal drugs within 12 months prior to their clearance request.
DOE should invoke a "strong presumption against granting a clearance" for applicants who admit to using drugs within the past two years.
Security screeners consider one to two years of abstinence evidence that an applicant has quit using drugs, "but no minimum period of abstinence is mandated," the report states.
It also recommends that all DOE federal and contractor employees with security clearances be subject to random and "for cause" drug testing, as well as pre-employment drug screening.
In addition to drug policy changes, the personnel security program's organizational structure should be revised to provide more accountability, and workers involved in granting security clearances should receive more training, the report says.
Members of a congressional subcommittee said during a hearing last week that they were shocked to learn that Quintana, 23, admitted using drugs shortly before her clearance was approved.
After reviewing 453 National Nuclear Security Administration security clearances granted between June 2001 and June 2002— the time period when Quintana's clearance was being processed— the personnel security task force determined that two other workers also received clearance, despite indications that they too used drugs within a month of approval.
Additionally, 35 other clearances were issued despite indications of drug use within 12 months prior to approval, according to the report.
It said that both the DOE Inspector General's office and an independent panel of inter-agency security personnel reviewed Quintana's case file and concluded that "various indicators suggested that granting (Quintana) a security clearance was not in the best interests of national security."
The task force recommended that DOE review all clearances granted in the last five years to identify cases where employees used illegal drugs within the year prior to their clearance being granted. In reviewing these cases, DOE can determine whether the workers should remain eligible for clearance, the task force said.
During last week's hearing, Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, asked Bodman whether Quintana's security clearance violated department policies.
"I don't know if it was a violation of DOE policy," Bodman replied, "but it didn't make any sense to do that."
Bodman testified that DOE is working to implement the task force's recommendations. LANL's corporate manager, Los Alamos National Security, strengthened its drug testing program this year.
The projected cost of LANL's program, which requires pre-employment drug screening and random drug tests for employees and contractors, is $800,000 a year. A DOE program would cost roughly $5.6 million a year, the task force report says.
Quintana, who was employed by a lab subcontractor, says she took paper and electronic documents home to catch up on work.
Los Alamos police discovered the materials during a drug investigation that targeted Quintana's roommate. Quintana has not been charged with a crime, and her lawyer says that while she experimented with drugs as a high school student, she did not use them while working at the lab.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

> Oh, woe! Oh, DOE!

More like, Doh!

Anonymous said...

But, LANL forced the DOE to grant those clearances to druggies.

Anonymous said...

How can LANL force DOE to grant a clearance?

Anonymous said...

They can't. The poster above is an idiot that does not understand how the process works.

Anonymous said...

Methinks the second post was simple sarcasm. Idiot, no. Cynic, yes.

Anonymous said...

If the second post was sarcasm, then it was rather well hidden. In lack of further evidence I also find the "idiot" hypothesis more likely. Whatever...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how many undeclared drug users DOE has also cleared.

Anonymous said...

Let's see ... Now why would anyone with a higher-than-room-temperature IQ (in Fahrenheit) ever tell DOE/NNSA that they had ever in their life used drugs?

Anonymous said...

7:36 ---- Maybe because they were honest and thought it meant something to sign a statement that said they had truthfully answered the questions on the security form.

Just the type of person who needs to be weeded out.

Anonymous said...

36/453 ~ 8%

Sh*t, I bet on 6%. Some figured as high as 10%, but those were the employees with the "cynical" attitude.

Anonymous said...

7:36 -- Duh, because the consequences of lying about it and getting "outed" are much much more severe than those of admitting past use.

Anonymous said...

This drug policy has been around for decades, so I don't know why Congress is getting upset now. The policy was sound, please self-acknowledge all prior drug use, and it won't count against you in your clearance investigation, as long as we can determine that you have stopped using drugs. The issue is not the prior drug use itself, per se, but the interaction with a criminal element (how else do you buy illegal drugs?), and the vulnerability to black-mail if you are hiding this information. So full disclosure, please, and no more drug use, at least while you're employed with a clearance.

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? That's the way it was explained to me the last 25 years.

Now, the new policies will simply drive the use underground, having exactly the opposite effect. The individual won't self disclose, leaving them vulnerable to blackmail, increasing the security risk.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Excuse me while I go pee in a cup.

Anonymous said...

Dear 4/25/07 9:18 PM:

While you are off to "pee in a cup," we of the Human Reliability Police are going over to your office to change the lock on the door. Your kind of "reasonable" is no longer what we need here at LANSL. We need blind obedience, conformity, and religious fervor. If you can't muster these, without adding your cute little remarks about what "what was explained to you for the past 25 years," well, everything has changed since 9/11, or actually, since the missing NEST Team hard drives, and actually, come to think of it, that conveniently useful spy, Wen Ho Lee.

We are THE CORPORATION; we own you, little man, not just your pitiful pee.

-Anonymous, but slavishly devoted to THE CORPORATION and HRPolice ("We are watching you.")

Calvin said...

I have used recreational drugs in the past. I disclosed this on my clearance application. I swore not to use them anymore (while cleared)... I don't need to have my honor questioned. I'm a very high-functioning adult... unlike the people making up (and enforcing) these rules.

http://boyamipissed.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

12:12AM

You are a 21yr old postdoc? Sorry but
this just sounds like bs to me. No way. Of course we did have a 20yr postdoc with a Ph.d from U of Arkansas which is maybe equivalent to grade school in NYC.

Anonymous said...

12:34 AM...

where did you get your Ph.D.? I think I have narrowed it down to a few schools, but just want to make sure.
I got mine at NMSU. Where does that place me on your almighty NYC scale? Take your pretentious, narcissistic snobbery somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Ph.d NMSU ... would be about 9th grade at Stuyvesant.

Calvin said...

12:12/12:19

What can I say... it just happened that way.

If you had dropped out of high-school as soon as you realized it was not a place to actually learn anything and if you had parents and other adults who had supported you and encouraged you in learning about anything and everything you were interested in and you discovered that starting college at 16 without an HS diploma is not impossible or unheard of and that college itself is nearly like high-school, at least until graduate school.

I found school very easy for the most part and I had extremely good professors once I got past the remedial classes (undergraduate math through differential equations, chemistry up to molecular, physics up to quantum theory, computer science up to complexity and computability).

I am used to being chided and heckled by people who weren't as lucky (or perhaps as able or as willing?) as I.

Get over yourself, I have.

Anonymous said...

Like this is a surprise.