May 23, 2007

Ex-archivist asks feds for reports on similar cases

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
May 22, 2007

U.S. attorney tells defense lawyer that documents are already available for review

Jessica Quintana wants to know about other people working for the U.S. Department of Energy who mishandled classified information and whether they were prosecuted.

Quintana, the former contract employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has filed a motion through her defense lawyer asking federal prosecutors for this and other reports related to her case prior to being sentenced. Quintana has asked to review FBI and Department of Energy reports related to the matter.

However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had already notified Quintana’s defense lawyer that 400 pages of reports and documents gathered by the FBI would be available for his review — a development not known to the defense lawyer at the time he filed the motion, court records show.

Quintana pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information — a misdemeanor — in U.S. District Court last week. The charge stems from an incident last July, when she downloaded and printed classified information from a vault-type room at the lab and took it to her home, court records show. Police discovered the information by accident in an unrelated search last October that focused on Quintana’s roommate.

Quintana faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, although prosecutors have not opposed Quintana’s request that she not go to jail. Before sentencing, she wants to know what has happened to others like her.

She seeks “any report of similar conduct by other Department of Energy employees and contractors, whether or not such misconduct resulted in administrative sanction by the DOE or any criminal prosecution.”

Quintana also seeks an unclassified report from the department’s Office of Inspector General “regarding systemic problems” at the lab, the vault where she worked and the company that employed her to perform the archival work.

And the defense motion asks for reports from a department task force, FBI reports and an unclassified summary of the nature of the information she took home, “including any verification that the documents were not top secret in nature.”

Quintana also spoke to CBS News over the weekend about the ease with which she took the information. “I printed out the pages I needed and put (them) in my backpack with my school books and walked out like I did every day,” Quintana told CBS. She could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Lab spokesman Jeff Berger responded that Quintana “committed a crime, plain and simple. She knew the rules, and she chose to violate them. In any event, the lab took swift action … to bolster both physical security and cyber security.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment Tuesday. However, a motion filed by a federal prosecutor Tuesday noted the FBI reports were available to Quintana’s lawyer, Steve Aarons of Santa Fe.

“Those documents should address at least some of the concerns underlying the motion,” the prosecutor’s motion reads.

Contact Andy Lenderman at 995-3827 or


Anonymous said...

Duh? If you have a Q clearance there are certain personal responsibilities that one must exercise and the main one is "Under no circumstances are you to remove, copy, duplicate or take classified data out of a secure area" For this she is a hero for pointing out security lapses. I don't care what you do, if you hire stupid and untrustworthy people then you will get burned.

Anonymous said...

12:17 PM:

Agree, except she's the one who should get burned - big time. Admitted drug use during the initial clearance investigation and still granted a clearance! DOE should fry for that. Not the only case like that in northern New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

this is just the first step to prepare to play the race card - any bets on how much time passes before that card is thrown down?

Anonymous said...

7:42 am:

"this is just the first step to prepare to play the race card"

"Race card"?? Who mentioned race?? How about the "stupid, criminal" card?? In fact the drug problem in northern New Mexico is well known and documented. If you claim that fact is about "race" I submit you've just invalidated your own argument. Are you admitting all druggies in northern NM are Hispanic?

BTW, do you truly believe that Hispanics are a different "race" than anglos??

Anonymous said...


no connection between drugs and "race" was intended in my comment - it was aimed at the original post pertaining to JQ's little pre-sentencing investigation, and no, i do not think different cultures constitute different "races". What the original post describes is a sequence of events that has played out so many times a pattern is easily identified.

Anonymous said...

Mark my words ... Quintana is going to sue the Lab. Due to their incompetence, the second-rate lawyers in Lab Legal have contracts with expensive law firms in SF and will ultimately have the Lab settle with Quintana (the Lab ALWAYS settles). The Lab will look guilty and Congress will once again have ammo to try and shut LANL down. If anything, I base most of LANL's bad press on the incompetent lawyers that have been hired by LANL and who reside in the Director's office (ie Rich Marquez) and Lab Legal (too many to list ...).

I am curious about this and perhaps it can be a topic of discussion, but LANL hires supposedly top-notch lawyers who insist that the Lab higher-ups walk a certain walk and not do "the right thing" and the Lab is NEVER allowed to defend itself. I think since WHL, this has been the biggest failure of the Lab. Nobody seems to question Legal. Why is this?

Anonymous said...

That strategy might work fine with plaintiffs who will settle, or even with those who won't. It seems ill advised with those who won't sue and insist on "the right thing" instead.