May 23, 2007
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 firstname.lastname@example.org