May 9, 2007

Atty: Former Lab Worker to Be Charged

By DEBORAH BAKER 05.08.07, 11:42 PM ET

The former Los Alamos National Laboratory worker who took secret data home will face a single misdemeanor charge of negligent handling of classified documents, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Jessica Quintana, 23, is scheduled to be arraigned May 15 before a federal magistrate in Albuquerque, her attorney Stephen Aarons said.

"She hasn't been charged, but we've reached an agreement as to what she will be charged with," Aarons said in an interview.

Police found the data - on a portable computer storage drive and in about 200 pages of paper documents - last October during a drug bust at her Los Alamos home.

The discovery renewed the furor over security problems at the nuclear weapons lab. The Department of Energy's inspector general found that security was "seriously flawed," and the breach was the subject of congressional hearings.

Aarons said Quintana, who formerly worked for a lab contractor, plans to plead guilty and could face up to a year in prison.

Federal prosecutors would not agree to make any recommendation as to sentencing, he said.

"We're hoping that she gets no jail time, but that's going to be up to the federal judge," the lawyer said.

The U.S. attorney's office did not immediately return a phone message left late Tuesday seeking comment.

Quintana was working as an archivist at the lab when she took the data. Aarons has said she was converting documents to an electronic format and took them home to catch up on her work.

Pleading guilty would be "an acceptance of responsibility," Aarons said. "We've always said she made a mistake here."

Lab officials said none of the material was top secret and that it did not contain the most sensitive nuclear weapons information. Most of it was classified at the lowest levels and was 20 to 30 years old, officials said.

The drug bust involved Justin Stone, a self-described meth addict who was renting a room in Quintana's home. He pleaded guilty last month to receiving stolen property and a probation violation, and was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to a rehabilitation program.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again I face the cognitive dissonance of Congress threatening 10,000+ LANL workers with financial ruin and career derailment over a stupid little girl who committed... a misdemeanor? Terrible, unconscionable breaches of national security, the commission of vicious crimes comparable in severity to...

What? Failing to pay child support for a child residing in another state? Hunting without a license and transporting the kill across state lines? Filing a false Medicare claim? Harrassing a foreign official?

So does Congress, does this nation, take the protection of classified material seriously, or doesn't it?

Personally, I'd like to give Jessica Quintana her clearance back, and give her a job at the Lab as an ISSO. Not one of the new super-ISSO's who get to make rules up and audit other people against their implementation. No, I mean an ordinary ISSO, the ones who aren't told what the rules are but are flogged when they fail to guess correctly. Maybe put her on a Sigma 15 RedNet just to up the ante.

That, I think, would really be an appropriate punishment.

Anonymous said...

Did former Deputy Laboratory Director John Mitchell leave in a rush because he committed the same misdeameanor?

If JQ gets any jail time, her lawyer was negligent if he didn't subpoena the Lab's and the FBI's records on Mitchell.

Anonymous said...

"Most of it was classified at the lowest levels and was 20 to 30 years old, officials said."

So, who was responsible for it not being declassifed long ago, and therefore not a source of make-work archiving and therefore not a potential "security breach."

Also, thanks P&TB, for reposting Mrs. Kauppila's comments yesterday. Time flies even when you're not having fun. People need to be reminded occasionaly re the abusive, technically incompetent ex-admiral.

Anonymous said...

Wen Ho Lee spent nine months in shackles for downloading his own data. As later reported in the media, the data he downloaded wasn't even classified at the time he did it. The Lab took steps to classify the data in question only AFTER the fact. This was little more than a desperate attempt (behind the scenes of course), by then DOE Secretary Bill Richardson, to salvage his own political career. Dr. Lee had been falsely accused of being the spy of the century. Had it been so, Richardson would have largely sealed his selection to be Al Gore’s running mate as VP. Dr. Lee's name had been leaked to the NY Times, and overnight he became public enemy number one. Today we know the prime suspect behind that leak is our very own Governor Richardson, but so what? Let's let bygones by bygones. Never mind that the "spy of the century" never existed, or that Dr. Lee's life and career was damaged beyond repair because he was viewed as little more than a pawn in a political chess game. He looked foreign, sounded foreign, didn't have blond hair and freckles in other words. So the American public viewed him as expendable. Nobody did for him what Nanos did for the Mustang lady. In Dr. Lee's case nobody had the decency to dramatically proclaim "there was never a spy," as Nanos did by proclaiming "there never was a Mustang." So what does all this have to do with the present? Those with selective memory will never understand. Those that do understand already know the relevance. The rest are just plain clueless, so why bother. Injustice is the first word what comes to my mind. Hypocrisy is a close second.

Anonymous said...

Have to say this was my prediction of the JQ outcome in the older posts when all this first came out.

Anonymous said...

You guys who are obsessed with Mitchell leaving aren't thinking about the ego of people at that level. Their motivation includes money and power. Perhaps he thought he was due more and bailed.

Potential security issues are a separate matter.

Anonymous said...

5/9/07 9:05 AM says "The Lab took steps to classify the data in question only AFTER the fact."

The "PARD defense" is such crap. Information is either classified, or it's not. Restricted Data is either Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret. There is no such thing as Unclassified Restricted Data, so Protect As Restricted Data can only be interepreted to mean "Protect as Classified."

Anonymous said...

Sorry - above I should have said "Nuclear weapons information" is either classfied or it's not. Wen Ho Lee may have been singled out, but he was not so innocent as he portrays himself.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody think that Jessica Quitana might have civil liability for the loss of housing values in Los Alamos?

Anonymous said...

Sure she does, but that's a pretty shallow well to tap, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Yea...let's nail the janitor! Why not force JQ to account for the loss of real estate values in Los Alamos. Forget Nanos, forget the other morons who've been running the Lab into the ground in recent years. It's so much easier to go after the trailer lady. Duhhhh

Anonymous said...

You bet my ass I'll jump in on a class action lawsuit against JQ for the devaluation of real estate in LA. She SHOULD be held ACCOUNTABLE.

Anonymous said...

Poster 7:48 says the same I've been saying. Why wasn't it DE-classified? Have you heard of anyone anywhere across the lab bothering to DE-classify anything. It's easier just to schlep it around and keep storing it than taking some responsibility and junking 30-year-old classified crap. Makes NO SENSE.... No wonder there's millions of bits of classified matter stored away......

Anonymous said...

To 5/9/07 2:16 PM - The class-action lawsuit and possibly criminal charges should be brought against the people in charge of security for the facility she took the data from. Doesn't ANYONE see that JQ is just a smokescreen for those who really screwed the pooch?

We pay big bucks to people who are suppose to be protecting our classified resources; those people are the ones that should be dealt with. Those people were outwitted by a 21 year old with supposedly good intentions... Just think what a seasoned spy could do with these idiots!

Anonymous said...

Screw IM (now IRM).... they originally hired her and pushed through her clearance...

Anonymous said...

So many sickening stories... but what I will always remember most is the laughter.

Anonymous said...

"but what I will always remember most is the laughter."

--famous last words

Anonymous said...

"You bet my ass I'll jump in on a class action lawsuit against JQ for the devaluation of real estate in LA. She SHOULD be held ACCOUNTABLE."

I assume the above is intended ironically, but it was more colorful back in the day when we just said, "She's a witch! Burn her!"

Anonymous said...

"Screw IM (now IRM).... they originally hired her and pushed through her clearance... "

If you are using any services from IRM or the directorate it belongs to, pay very close attention to what you are being charged.

Anonymous said...

Just a question here.....but someone intentionally breaks the law and potentially risks national security and it is not their fault?????? Whether or not the information should have been declassified is moot - she didn't know the difference. What did I miss?


to 6:57pm - Got gas?

Anonymous said...

IM/IRM is a ripoff recharge outfit and has ALWAYS been an overcharging ripoff service with a pack of prima donas posing as editors and designers. The dueling grammarians were hilarious sincet neither one of them knows shit.

Doris Heim better go look up BEST BUSINESS PRACTICE in a dictionary and then decide if she wants that crappy outfit in her directorate. Then she should look up FRAUD in connection to recharge rates and services especially when IRM tells its prima donas to work SLOW so they can jack up the recharge.

Anonymous said...

People - what JQ did was wrong but remember Mikey said that there were 20-something personnel actions taken. Of course, he wouldn't elaborate because JQ is the scapegoat in this affair. IF LANS management were not trying soooo hard to cover up stuff, why do you think JQ got away with only a misdemeanor? She broke the law and only gets a misdemeanor? My gosh, are all you soooo stupid that you want to file a class action lawsuit against JQ? What about LANS? Now THEY and all the management down to the ADs are responsible for the depriciation of real estate in LA. Shheeeessshhh.

darko said...

Classified is classified until it is declassified. JQ and Wen Ho and ??? all broke procedure, etc. and that is a real problem. But there was no *real* harm done, only potential. This doesn't show in the media or congressional committee.

Add to JQ on the defendant list for your class action suit:

whoever handed us to Bechtel (under the table)

whoever handed RRW to LLNL (under the table)

whoever kept the search for a "chinese spy" going after it was known there was no chinese spy (yes Wen Ho was guilty of mishandling, but not of spying)

Admiral Pete (butthead) Nanos and those with his brown on their noses.

The poor sucker who approved the controlled burn that once uncontrolled tried to burn us out.

-darko

Anonymous said...

and don't forget the $300M stand down which lasted for what? 4 months? 6 months? when Nanos knew within a week there WERE no missing classified disks....

Anonymous said...

and IM/IRM for its unethical firings of contractors and limited term employees over the years.

Anonymous said...

5/9/07 9:36 PM

Scapegoat? Are you kidding me? What she did was an intentional act. Drop this bullshit of JQ is a scapegoat.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we all just be friends? =;)

Anonymous said...

JQ's supervisors and line management are at fault.

Anonymous said...

JQ's supervisors and line management are at fault.

5/10/07 9:13 PM


Rrrriiiighhhhtttttt.....JQ bears no responsiblity.

Anonymous said...

Jessica has plead guilty and is soon to be sentenced. Yes, how about her supervisors - where were they when the "supervised tasks" were performed?

She, at a very young age and at the beginning of her career, has the courage to admit what she did was wrong and will accept her sentence with dignity while her name is trashed.

Did the scientist who was responsible for the student's laser injuries get his or her name trashed?

And is Mitchell's name trashed and/or is he even going to be prosecuted. On yeah, how about that guy, oh you know, just the number one at the spook agency who had current classified stuff on his laptop? Don't recall his name getting trashed and don't recall he served time for his "mistake".

Enough already - like you were perfect at age 23. Or even at 40, 50, 60, etc.

That's why we have a justice system - she will pay for her mistake - we don't have to continue to brand her with a scarlet letter.

Anonymous said...

* There was a Chinese spy. The Chinese walked into the US Embassy with drawings of the W-88. Drawings that were traced to only three possible sources; Sandia National Labs, The Naval Research Laboratory, or Lockheed-Martin Corporate. End of story for any LANL involvement. So why didn't Anastasio defend LANL in the Congressional Hearings?

* Mitchell did leave under suspicious circumstances. If he's innocent, why didn't Anastasio address this?

Anastasio was trying to further the misperception of wholesale security and safety problems at LANL and he couldn't risk exposing the fact that LANS is incompetent to manage security. Why? The $73M annual fee for running LANL, a lab that was previously run better for only $8M by the University of California (hard to believe but true).

Another reason is the LLNL contract - same story and same hugely inflated management fee.

What's the evidence that LANS has improved security at LANL? The biggest security breach in the last 50 years. Check into the additional security measures employed by LANS after taking control (there weren't any). Check into the timing of Jessica Quintana's downloads vs. her contract termination.

What's the evidence that LANS has improved safety performance? Check into the accident and reportable occurance rate in the first 5 months of Calendar '07 vs. Calendar '06. Answer: NO IMPROVEMENT WHATSOEVER.

$200M has been taken out of the LANL budget to pay for LANS with what results? NO IMPROVEMENTS.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS: PAY ATTENTION, LANS IS A $1B MISTAKE.

Anonymous said...

6:10 PM said, "Did the scientist who was responsible for the student's laser injuries get his or her name trashed?"

Why yes, yes, he did: Dave Cremers was fired and his name blasted all over the papers as was his boss Al Sattelberger and his boss Tom Meyer.