For Immediate Release: April 17, 2007
Contact: Jodi Seth 202-225-5735
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Will Hold Hearing on Mismanagement at Los Alamos National Labs
Energy Secretary Bodman to Testify on Repeated Security Breaches, Members to Question Secretary About Pantex Strike
Washington, DC - The Secretary of Energy, Samuel W. Bodman, will appear before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on April 20, 2007, to explain why classified information has been leaked out of the Los Alamos National Labs (LANL), why the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is approving high level security clearances for admitted drug users, and what actions are being taken to remedy these and other related problems.
“We are pleased that Secretary Bodman has taken some important steps to address the blatant mismanagement at LANL,” said Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “However, it is clear that additional actions are necessary. This hearing will provide an opportunity to determine how best to prevent further infractions and hold LANL’s new contractor team accountable for ensuring sound management.”
There have been an inordinate number of security breaches at LANL involving an inability to account for or control classified information, including the December 1999 Wen Ho Lee case; the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of two of the Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) hard drives in June 2000; nine missing classified removable electronic media (CREM) devices in November 2003; unaccounted for CREM that LANL concluded probably were never created, but which led, in part, to a 7-month stand down in 2004 costing taxpayers $370 million; and the October 2006 cyber security breach which is euphemistically referred to as the “CREM de Meth” event.
“This is the 13th hearing held by this Subcommittee on mismanagement at LANL and our patience has grown thin,” stated Bart Stupak, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “Absent significant improvements, we will be seeking alternative locations in the DOE complex for having this classified work performed.”
Independent oversight by the Department of Energy (DOE) of LANL's Safeguards and Security late in 2006 found a substandard to failing performance in 14 out of 17 key areas such as classified matter protections and control, cyber security, and emergency management. The most recent infraction was discovered in March 2007, when officials found that a former LANL subcontractor, Lujan Software Services, posted to its web site the names and social security numbers of approximately 550 individuals. It remains unclear how long this information was in the public domain, who accessed this information, and whether it is being improperly used.
Stupak also plans to question Secretary Bodman about a related matter involving a security police strike at the Pantex plant near Amarillo, Texas. On April 16, approximately 550 security police at Pantex, one of DOE’s most sensitive plants, went on strike requiring the department to deploy a contingency force in an effort to keep the plant operating.
“We will be asking Secretary Bodman why the NNSA permitted relations with its security police force to degrade to the point that there was a strike and the potential for significant costs to the government,” added Stupak.
In addition to Secretary Bodman, hearing witnesses will include Gregory Friedman, DOE Inspector General, and Michael Anastasio, President of Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the DOE/NNSA Contractor at LANL.
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