Jun 25, 2007

Lax and Lazy At Los Alamos


Just when you were starting to wonder what's new at LANL, all you have to do is crack the virtual cover of the latest Newsweek, and voila! --Gussie

________________________________________________________________

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19418769/site/newsweek/

Officials at the nuclear-weapons laboratory, already struggling to calm concerns over security lapses, now have two more breaches to explain.


By John Barry
Newsweek
Updated: 1:12 p.m. MT June 25, 2007

June 25, 2007 - What's going on at Los Alamos? The nation's premier nuclear-weapons laboratory appears plagued with continuing security problems. Barely 10 days after revelations of a leak of highly classified material over the Internet, NEWSWEEK has learned of two other security breaches.

In late May, a Los Alamos staffer took his lab laptop with him on vacation to Ireland. A senior nuclear official familiar with the inner workings of Los Alamos—who would not be named talking about internal matters—says the laptop's hard drive contained "government documents of a sensitive nature." The laptop was also fitted with an encryption card advanced enough that its export is government-controlled. In Ireland, the laptop was stolen from the vacationer's hotel room. It has not been recovered. This source adds that Los Alamos has started a frantic effort to inventory all its laptops, calling in most of them and substituting nonportable desktop models. (The source’s account was confirmed by a midlevel Los Alamos official who also requests anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the subject.)

Then, 10 days ago, a Los Alamos scientist fired off an e-mail to colleagues at the Nevada nuclear test site. The scientist works in Los Alamos's P Division, which does experimental physics related to weapons design, a lab source says. The material he e-mailed was "highly classified," the same source says. But he sent his e-mail over the open Internet, rather than through the secure defense network.

These incidents come as Los Alamos is still reeling from the revelation that, in January, half a dozen board members of the company that manages the lab circulated—over the Internet—an e-mail to each other containing the most highly classified information about the composition of America's nuclear arsenal. The two sources tell NEWSWEEK that the e-mail concerned what the weapons community calls "special nuclear materials," the other ingredients besides uranium or plutonium at the core of nuclear weapons. The sources confirm to NEWSWEEK that the breach was rated "category one," meaning it posed "the most serious threats to national security interests."

Los Alamos spokesman Jeff Berger referred questions about the January breach to the Department of Energy or its specialist agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration. Regarding the e-mail to the Nevada test site, Berger said: "The purported incident is under investigation; it would be inappropriate to comment." As for the laptop stolen in Ireland, Berger confirmed the event, but said "information contained on the computer was of sufficiently low sensitivity that, had the employee followed proper laboratory procedure, he would have been authorized to take it to Ireland." About the encryption card, Berger said: "Ireland is a country that wouldn't have posed any export problems." He confirmed that, in the wake of this incident, Los Alamos is "in the process of narrowly restricting the use of laptops for foreign travel," while also working "to strengthen our employees' awareness of their responsibilities for protecting government equipment and the proper laboratory procedures for off-site usage."

Bryan Wilkes, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that, in taking his laptop to Ireland, the employee "did violate lab policy"—though Wilkes confirmed that, had the employee asked, permission would have been granted. Wilkes declined to comment for the record on the Nevada e-mail. Regarding the circulation in January of highly classified weapons information over the Internet, Wilkes said that everything the department had to say on the matter could be found in a June 15 letter sent by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to Rep. John Dingell, chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees the nuclear weapons complex.

"I can affirm that an individual did in fact unintentionally transmit sensitive information through an unsecured e-mail system," Bodman wrote Dingell. But Bodman played down its significance: "While serious, the incident in question was the result of human error, not a failure of security systems. The Department makes every effort to minimize inadvertent human errors, but we recognize that such errors may occur from time. Therefore, we have a robust system in place to report and investigate potential violations. In my opinion this is a circumstance where those systems worked well."

Bodman's professed reassurance is unlikely to satisfy those people—many within the nuclear weapons community—who are concerned by what appears to be a pattern of security problems at Los Alamos stretching back some years. "Boys will be boys, seems to be Bodman's message," one very senior figure in the weapons community said sarcastically: "I doubt that will appease John Dingell." Dingell's staff was unable to respond by deadline to a request for comment. But Dingell has talked in the past of his concerns at what seems to be deeply rooted problems at Los Alamos. Appearing in January before one of Dingell's sub-committees, Thomas D'Agostino, deputy administrator for weapons programs at the NNSA, agreed that successive security breaches at Los Alamos pointed to a failure of what he called "the security culture" there.

D'Agostino promised tough action: "Make no doubt about this. If the current laboratory management is unable or unwilling to change the security culture at LANL, I will use every management tool available to me" to force action, he said in testimony.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep, ol' Tom D'Agostino sure knows how to pick them doesn't he?

I bet Lockheed is looking pretty good to you now, eh, Tom? Still glad you went with the Bechtel contingent?

You bald-headed moron, you.

Anonymous said...

Why can Bodman confirm this incident but he and Anastasio can't confirm the LANS Board of Directors' mishandling of classified matter and the John Mitchell incident?

Pinky and The Brain said...

Damn you're fast, Gussie!
Pinky

Sam Bodman, Secy. said...

"Why can Bodman confirm this incident but he and Anastasio can't confirm the LANS Board of Directors' mishandling of classified matter and the John Mitchell incident?"


Uh, because, er, those other ones were, um, you know, different.

Somehow.

I want my mommy.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see now. We were $690 million in the hole before these latest fuck ups. Any bets on how low we can go?

Mike Anastasio said...

I promise there will be no RI...

What's that? IN THE LATEST NEWSWEEK??!

Um, I'll get back to you all about the 'R' thing...

(Jeez I hope they don't find out about the Mitchell business, too. We've worked so hard to bury that one)

Anonymous said...

Whats that about the President and Cheney purposefully leaking classified inf... WAIT, HOLD THE PRESSES. LANLS AT IT AGAIN! BAD LANL, BAD! now what were we talking about??

Anonymous said...

D'Agostino promised tough action: "Make no doubt about this. If the current laboratory management is unable or unwilling to change the security culture at LANL, I will use every management tool available to me" to force action, he said in testimony.

Which "management tool" do you think he's talking about?

Anonymous said...

"Which "management tool" do you think he's talking about?"

The one that requires an application of soap, or butter, when used in polite society.

Anonymous said...

The laptop story is another non-event.

The encryption device is a cryptocard. It's made in either canada (or china, for a while) and shipped to the US. It's not made here. It's not US technology. There's nothing owned by a US company. But, to take it out of the US, you need an export license. This is complete bullshit, related to stupid US laws, but, of course, don't ask a journalist to understand this.

The laptop? Well, if it had a lab person's phone number on it, it's sensitive information. Whatever. If the person had a memo pad, and had a phone number on it, and lost it, would we have a headline? I doubt it.

As the spokesman said, "had they applied, we would have let it go". That's all you need to know.

Another non-event, and LANL gets flogged.

These non-events are fun for the journalist, as the journalists don't have to think too much before writing the story. It's sad and scary to think that people actually depend on this type of article for information.

At the same time, I wish that my old friends at LANL would realize that the truth is not the issue here. I can't believe anyone would make such a stupid mistake as to take the laptop without filling out the forms. No, it makes no sense, but yes, you have to fill out the Fucking Form! Every mistake, at this point, is going to get you in the headlines. It's not fair, but that's life. You are under a microscope, and your enemies are watching every move you make.

GussieFinkNottle said...

6/25/07 5:56 PM claims that the latest two reported security events were in fact non-events.

Hello! Can you say "Part of the problem"? You must be a physicist bomb designer, continuing to try to live in your own insular little world. I know your type though, so I'll spell out for you why these are not "non-events".

But first I need to say one thing.

MORON!

Ok, I'll try to speak slowly now. Here is why the latest episodes are not, as you say, non-events:

1. They are written up on the front page of Newsweek.
2. They come on the heels of a whole series of highly publicized security events. LANS board members (!) emailing unencrypted classified docs on the open network. CREM de Meth. John Mitchell doing classified computing from the comfort of his own living room. Ok, I just threw in that last one if for flavor. Not proven, forget I said anything.
3. Congress just approved cutting LANL's budget by $690 million dollars.
4. Congress, who controls the funding flow to LANL is not happy with LANL already. Am I speaking slowly enough for you yet or do I need to go slower?
5. UC lost the LANL contract in the first place 2 years ago because of (wait for it) a series of safety and *security* screw ups (some real, others, like the missing DX Division CREM totally imaginary).

I did mention that I knew your type, didn't I? Well, that means that *I* know you won't listen to any opinion but your own poorly-formed one. Regardless, in case I haven't mentioned it, you are a moron.

Best Regards,

--Gussie

GussieFinkNottle said...

BTW,

Apologies to all you bomb designing physicists out there who are *not* insular, narrow-minded, pin-headed morons.

You know who you are.

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

We need to start having a few "code red" parties.

Anonymous said...

Gussie! 5:56 is not a moron, he speaks the truth. Let me simply alter his text to say it "shouldn't" be an event. You are absolutely correct that coming on the heels of the other events, this event will be big, again.

But the whole circus makes no sense. The response to our problems is not proportionate on any reasonable scale.

Anonymous said...

It has been a while since I posted, in fact since the original LANL Blog. Just for information sake, I’ve escaped Los Alamos albeit not entirely, I still own real estate there and fear my ownership will continue a long while more. Nevertheless, I hope that my departure has given me a bit of perspective that might assist those of you are left there.

Are the current incidents, real events worth noting? Yes, since reality has no merit in determining Los Alamos’ future, its all about spin and Los Alamos appears to be spinning out of control. And no, these incidents are beneath interest, at least with regard to any actual damage they will do to national security. The damage to national security will all be done by the political apparatus, which will add one more over-reaction to the litany of over-reactions piled upon the collective population of Los Alamos.

The real question to ponder is why Los Alamos is always in the news. First, Los Alamos has always made the news since the beginning, for what it did right and now what it does wrong, fame knows no boundaries. The second reason is more subtle. Los Alamos is different than the other Labs in one critical way, the way that has nothing to do with the rate of security or safety incidents. Los Alamos is a small town where few if any secrets stay that way. Everyone knows everyone else and people talk shop everywhere. While Labbies at LLNL and SNL go home to large communities and talk with other people, LANL people go home and talk to other LANL people, not to mention the inevitable pillow talk between married (and unmarried) employees.

The point is that stories like a missing laptop, or hard disc, or classified e-mail have lots of ways of escaping to the media and then to the political meat-grinder. Coupled with Los Alamos’ fame, it’s a match to dry tinder, one step away from a firestorm.

What’s the lesson to learn here? Open communication is a two-edged sword, and lots of information is getting to the media that is being used to cut LANL to ribbons. Its good to know what is going on, but the information about LANL security is being routinely fed to people who don’t know what to do with it. Not knowing what to do with it, they are doing the wrong thing.

Anonymous said...

Yuk man, this is too much! I'm leaving on travel tomorrow, have all the right papers for my laptop, but F__k it, I'm switching briefcases and just taking some papers and a novel. I'll be just like an upper manager, sitting in first class (not!) reading my fiction. Whatever, I'll do some algebra too.

GussieFinkNottle said...

Well, ok 6:57.

To show you how open minded and reasonable I can be, I'll concede that 5:56 might not be a moron. You might understand my confusion on the subject however, what with only having one data point to work with.

Seriously, after the gruesome past four years we've experienced at LANL to then have somebody come along and actually say that the *latest* two security episodes written up by NewsWeek under the headline "Lax at Los Alamos" were non-events is just, well

moronic.

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

6:57 pm:

You are absolutely correct. I am not a "bomb design" physicist, but I am a physicist. If we start reacting and behaving as if the congressional and press overreactions were deserving of such response ever time, there is no end to the hoop-jumping. Enough is enough. It doesn't take a "bomb design" physicist, or any physicist, to demand sanity and to refuse the fire drills. It just takes some conviction, and balls, evidently lacking in DOE, NNSA, LANS, and LANL.

Anonymous said...

Is it really certain that an export license is required to take a cryptocard out of the country?

I am retired for more than two years. But, prior to that I took a LANL laptop, cryptocard, and digital camera out of the country many times with only a property removal form.

Anonymous said...

It's physical reality vs. political reality, two different worlds.

Anonymous said...

7:21PM, You need two different forms, a property removal pass and an export control license, issued by two different offices. The export control license lists your laptop, your cryptocard, and your palm pilot. Probably ditto your camera, if it's gov't owned. In some years, the Lab's customs office has billed my program code nearly $1000 to generate the form. Other years, I don't see a charge, it's apparently part of my overhead.

I have never, ever, needed to present my export control licenses when traveling in Western Europe. Dunno if the former Soviet Union travellers have run into requirements?

And, if on official travel (not vacation, as in this case), you need a Country Cable Clearance to notify the American Embassy in that country. Not that our foreign embassies actually care, we are just contractors passing through. I don't even know what a "cable" is anymore, something to do with the Pony Express and Telegrams. I think these days it's actually a Word Document.

This paperwork is simply CYA. This vacationing employee has an uncovered rear.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of how "sensitive" a cryptocard is, anyone who has one, turn it over and take a look at what it says on the back. The "If found, return to" address is in ... canada. So, if you happen to drop it in the US, it might get inadvertently exported to Canada. I always found this little text on the cryptocards to be a source of a chuckle.

Anonymous said...

WoW, and this is before we hear about the John "Mitchell Affair", OK ....Tell me tell me please, what else will we be reading in the World's News Magazines, that our So called Management hasn't told us about.....
Question: Why can't we follow rules at LANL, do some of you assholes really want to shut down LANL, with your arrogant behavior? Or are you just plain stupid....

Anonymous said...

"Why can't we follow rules at LANL.."
The answer is obvious if you ever try to find and read the rules. The "rules" have become a bureaucratic garbled mess. My solution is to get rid of LANL laptops, cellphones, credit cards, and pagers. If the lab wants to find me outside normal hours or if I'm on travel good luck.

Anonymous said...

Gussie, you wanna throw names around?

OK, you're a dumbass. You can't read. Read my post. Read it more slowly, move your lips, read it aloud, do whatever it takes.

Gussie, you're what's wrong with LANL. You're an arrogant asshole, who jumps right down somebody's throat without even making an attempt at reasonable discussion, or thinking that maybe you misunderstood what someone has written. Because, you see, you and I agree on the need for LANL staff to be far more careful than they are. You can't even consider for a second that it might be poor wording on my part. Nope, I have to be a moron.

The laptop story, in the real world, would be a non-event. Why?
1. Cryptocards are not made in the US, but you need an *export license* to take them *outside* the US, although they are built *outside* the US, with *non-US* technology, and *imported* to the US. Yet they are treated as a US-made munition for purposes of export under the US crypto rules. Get the point? Did I go too fast for you? It's a stupid rule, and everyone in the crypto community knows it's stupid.
And, in the real world, taking a cryptocard out of country would be a non-event.

2. The laptop probably had nothing on it that could not be found on the LANL web page. But info like phone #s of people are supposed to be encrypted, if on your laptop, and you can get in all kinds of trouble if they are not. I'd be surprised to hear that there was anything of real value on that laptop.

So, I stick to my claim that in the real world, this is a non-event, becuase I can guarantee that people from all parts of the USG routinely take cryptocards and laptops with such information overseas, and that some fraction of them go without an export license. In the hyper-charged microscope world that LANL lives under, however, it's Newsweek. I can't believe that anyone would be careless enough to take a laptop/cryptocard combo out of the country without getting the export form signed -- it takes no time to get it.

And my point, which you seemed to have missed, is that while lots of LANL people may know that this laptop thing is a non-event in the real world, because LANL is under a microscope, it's a huge event. LANL people not only have to be above reproach, they have to be above the appearance of reproach. The media give no second chances.

Geez, Gussie, I guess I thought you had a brain. You've been at LANL too long. I've been away for quite some time, I hope you are not typical of what's left. You're the kind of person I was so happy to leave behind.

And no, thank goodness, I'm not a physicist.

And yes, in response to a later question, you need to have an export license to take a cryptocard out of country. And you know what? I can guarantee that people take them out routinely, from all walks of life, and nobody cares. It's just that when LANL does it, the sky falls down. It's not fair, but that's how it is.

Anyway, Gussie, continue to enjoy your job at LANL. You're definitely in the right place. Good luck on the promotion.

Anonymous said...

tom says: 'If the current laboratory management is unable or unwilling to change the security culture at LANL, I will use every management tool available to me to force action.'

What could he mean? I know! how about no raises and reduced benefits for the working stiffs! And of course bonuses for LANS for beating us into shape!

Anonymous said...

"If the lab wants to find me outside normal hours or if I'm on travel good luck."

Of course, you're forgetting about the rule which states the lab has to be able to find you when you're on travel...

Oh, and the one that says you can't use your own personal laptop to do lab email.

(Look them up.)

GussieFinkNottle said...

Ok, 7:56. I see the error of my ways. You're right, I'm wrong. The NewsWeek thing is a non-event, reporting on two other non-events (sum can't be greater than the whole, you know).

There, wasn't that easy?

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

7:57pm
I'm shocked you don't think the lab's wonderful Oracle system knows all. Why it could find anybody, anywhere, anytime!

As for the e-mail I make the supreme sacrifice (for the sake of enhanced security)to forgo the daily update e-mail.

Anonymous said...

It ain't fair. The LANL photo is so old it doesn't show the wonderful improvements LANS made to security!

Anonymous said...

An interesting observation; the local news media which so gleefully reported past anti-LANL stories has become almost silent. Do you suppose they finally figured out if LANL goes down so does northern NM?

Anonymous said...

Heres how the rules at LANL are largely made. You have large committees formed from largely volunteered (by your management) staff. These committees consider all the ways they can cover their asses, and formulate rules accordingly. Doesn't matter that the rules start to resemble the IRS tax code, and change every month. I was on one of these committees. I lasted 1 day -- I mentioned that it was impossible to understand the rules; shouldn't we simplify and make them clear so someone that WANTS TO FOLLOW THEM CAN?? Nope. This was taken as naked hostility to the process. And so it goes, at LANL and the US Govt at large. An ever increasing blob of beurocracy, that feeds on its own disasters.

Anonymous said...

another non-event is right..... I still say it's all a hyped up plot to move LANL programs, projects etc to Texas and California.... and yes if LANL goes down so does ALL of NM, not just northern NM..... can you spell THIRD WORLD COUNTRY?

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, let's keep blaming everybody else. Too bad we can't use national security to drive off the crtics any more. Too bad we can't cover up problem so readily anymore. Too bad we don't impress the world anymore with our self proclaimed status of "best and brightest." Too bad we can't use slogans like home of the "world's best science" to weasle our way out of accountability anymore. In short, too bad we still can't keep our collective egos in check. Our arrogance continues to be our worst enemy. Anybody reading this thread can readily see it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Holian. Time to crunch the figures, which you do so well. How many unclassified laptops got lost at other facilities compared to the losses by LANL staff. I'm guessing we are far, far down the list in this regard, not that it matters much to Newsweek.

And, while we are at it, someone needs to change the name of those one-time password generating cards from "Cryptocard" to something less ominious and more accurate.

"Cryptocard" sound like something James Bond would use. It's a one-time password generator, for God's sake, and nothing more -- the type of thing that financial sites routinely hand out like candy to most of their online customers.

Anonymous said...

One thing that almost all of the comments seem to ignore is the classified email from LANL to Nevada. I guess one can argue about whether or not the paper work for the laptop is excessive - get used to it it's not going away - and that crypto cards (and just about anything else) are of chinese origin and therefore technically shouldn't be considered export controlled - an argument I would expect to fall on deaf ears. But how does one explain the continued failures of people sending classified messages on open email? Don't blame DOE, NNSA, UC, Nanos, or Anastasio. None of them ever hinted that it was ok to do it. Maybe that lesson was in a class you didn't want to take.

Anonymous said...

It's obviously been a very slow week for Newsweek. You want to see a real laptop horror story? Then take a look at this one...

www.msnbc.msn.com
/id/5092991/site/newsweek/

Missing: A Laptop of DEA Informants - Newsweek, June 2006

June 7 issue - Federal investigators are frantically trying to determine what happened to a missing laptop computer that contains sensitive data on as many as 100 Drug Enforcement Administration investigations around the country, including a wealth of information about many of the agency's confidential informants, NEWSWEEK has learned.

----

Makes you wonder how many individuals might have been "off'ed" by drug kingpins or Tony Soprano types if they ever got their hands on this little baby! Of course, no one ever calls for the DEA or the FBI to be shut down because they are seen as organizations that serve an important purpose. The perceived lack of purpose is at the heart of LANL's current problems, and it isn't going to get fixed anytime soon. Even Congress now seems to doubt the need for much of the nuclear weapons complex. It appears we are rapidly going down, down, down.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the most sane post here todate is that of 7:02, and no one even takes notice. We're too busy claiming that we're better than everyone else (how many laptops did "others" loose?), blaming the media, congress, or just about anyone else; contriving a conspiracy that would require far too much coordination and cooperation to even be practical, and refusing to CHANGE! Instead, we seem to think the world should change to accomodate us. Might I suggest: "We have met the enemy and he is us." (Walt Kelly, 1970)

Anonymous said...

If an organization costs lots of money to operate and seems to have no purpose, then any mistake said organization makes is one mistake too many. If the organization has a well respected purpose (DOD, DEA, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc), then they can take a massive hit from an internal screwup and still be left standing.

In the eyes of much of Congress and the media, the weapons complex has no purpose. We can improve and cut the number of mistakes down to 8-sigma levels, but it will be to no avail if the nation doesn't see an important purpose for the continuation of the weapon labs. Right now, no one except Northern New Mexico would give a damn if LANL was completely shut down. People in the community are beginning to sense this, thus the sudden fear in everyone's face.

Purpose can be instilled by great leadership, but we have no great leaders at LANS or NNSA. We are completely rudderless and about to beach on the rocks. Soon, it will be every man for himself. Those who can are now looking around for the lifeboats. It's a very ugly situation.

Anonymous said...

Well, as I see it, these latest two 'non-events' bring LANS closer to having their contract terminated for cause, and to having an even greater budget reduction for LANL in the very near future. We're already looking at perhaps a $600 shortfall after Sandia eats their share of the budget cuts. What's that, about 1,300 of our famous $450,000/year TSMs? Start throwing in some of the lower paid support folks and we're probably already well over 2,000 staff looking to get the pink slip.

Sure glad we didn't have any *real* events being reported by Time or Newsweek these past 10 days; otherwise we might *really* be in trouble.

Another thing: why is it that these two weekly rags are breaking the latest (non-event) security stories about LANL? What happened to our local reporting? As somebody noted above, they've practically dropped LANL off of their radar screens.

Anonymous said...

Who here actually thinks that if things are bad enough to get the LANS contract terminated for cause, that things would get better afterward! Be careful what you wish for . . . If we as employees (at all levels) don't figure out how to get things done without screwing up - the make up of the management team really won't matter!

Anonymous said...

To the 9:51pm post.

Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Anonymous said...

It appears that the paperwork and training that is mandatory for employees is not truly a CYA effort. It's a CTA effort; it covers THEIR ass, not yours. Of course, if one fails to do the paperwork altogether, then you have neither CYA or CTA.

Anonymous said...

How can Mikey dismiss the emailing of classified data as resulting in "no harm" and let it go at that? What "harm" was there from Quintana's 30-ear-old classified crap? None. And how about Nanos' phantom missing disks? None.

The harm come after the fact when the hysterical media starts up (and getting it wrong).

The harm is from knee-jerk Nanos-like reactions from "managers."

The harm is from political hacks trying to make points with LANL while ignoring more frequent and potentially more harmlful lapses at the White House, FBI, NNSA, etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

Regarding Anonymous at 6/25/07 11:56 PM statements about RIFfing $450K TSMs: The $450K annual cost of a TSM is what is charged to the program. The actual direct cost of the TSM is the salary (~$110K) plus benefits (~$25K to $35K depending upon whether the employee is on TCP-1 or TCP-2). The cost of the benefits for TCP-1 employees will increase when the new UCRP costs kick in.

SO, what you save by laying off a typical TSM is really only less than $150K. You do not save the additional $300K ($450K - $150K) unless you RIF a lot of the overhead people.

The average cost of a LANL employee, averaged over the entire LANS workforce (not including students and contractors) is about $125K per year. So, to get a $1M savings, you need to RIF 8 full-time employees. Things are actually worse when the cost of severance (albeit recently reduced) is included.

There should be some reductions in non-payroll costs such as travel and supplies. But, unless complete buildings are closed, there will be no savings in utilities or facilities management costs. The cost of an empty office is no less than the cost of an occupied office.

When all of this is taken to account, the actual savings that can be obtained by RIFfing the "typical" LANS employee is about $100K. So, to get to $1M, we need to RIF 10 employees.

And, unless some real changes are made, and that would include significant reductions in the number of high-paid managers, the fixed costs of overhead will drive the FTE cost much higher than the present $450K per TSM-year.

This is not a very bright picture.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember why we now have to encrypt personal information that's stored on laptops?

Yeah, you got it. Because of data losses at other agencies... including our own NNSA-AL.

Anonymous said...

I guess the email from P Division to NTS was a case of "human error."

Right, Sam?

Anonymous said...

a FOX NEWS perspective of bullshit, lies, and trumped-up bullshit.... oh I repeated myself

Pinocchio said...

I see Mictchell's name tossed out there like the Uncle we never talk about. Yet his presence is felt. What is the real story there? Did he get into a snit and say the I quit word before he sanitized his puters at home? Is it tru that once realizing the egress security folks found classified materials, his decision to leave took on wanting more quickly to be with his family and do other life goals? Did he really have classified material on his home computer? Wasn't John Deutch another Former DOE Undersecrtary caught by the CIA doing the same thing and was headed to serious jail time save for the last minute pardon by the President Clinton?

So how has this major security iss and breakdown by Mitchell bee kept so secret so long? Is the cover -up by the department or his company LANS?

In the light of the series of mistakes (although boys will be boys and they are ever so unintentionl) of senior officials who know better making classified blunders for whatever the excuse it is obvious there is a systemic failuer in not only the processes for which we protect so vigourously, but for the people we put behind the wheel without their true understanding of the responsibility and damage the vehicle they are in control of can do.

Please correct my "understanding" that Mitchell committed a gross violation and was run out of town. The serriousness and nature was covered up. The instant lesson that was available to be used to alert and get everyones attention was buried - deep sixed. No accoutabilty means no retribution. Unless you an old whte guy member of the club? I could be wrong?

Anonymous said...

Not that anyone here is going to take my word for it, and since no evidence can be provided for an event that didn't happen, I know I'm wasting time typing this - but here goes anyway. There was no Mitchell security incident.

Take it or leave it - those most eager to support the urban legend can't produce details and evidence that doesn't exist. Get over it. Worry about the ones that did happen and are well documented and published.

GussieFinkNottle said...

The problem, 8:37, is that the official explanation of Mitchell's departure makes no sense. He was bound by the terms of his contract to remain at LANL for a full 2 years, as were all the senior LANS managers.

In the absence of any facts, my nose tells me that the real reason for Mitchell's sudden departure has not yet surfaced.

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

"He was bound by the terms of his contract." True. And can probably confirmed with a little research. That contract also allowed him to leave earlier than the two years for medical reasons or retirement, without penalty to LANS. Probably not popular with NNSA because believe it or not his resume counted in the eval of the key management team.

On another note, lack of details provided by the coorporation on personal decisions is pretty common.

pinocchio said...

The "official" story which as you know - I believe. Bechtel had an age retirement policy. He had to leave to meet it (and to spend time with his family). But wait - He was bid by LANS. I am so dumb! If he worked for a brand new company there was no retirement clause, yet? If Bechtel knew he had to retire and was on the Bechtel payroll then - oh go figure they knowingly bid him and had him sign a 2 year commitment? Former admirals knowingly commiting a fraud? Then the denial by the administration? Come on! We all know Mitchel was in charge - he even told Mike and the entire senior staff.

Doesn't pass the smell test any more than some of the responses. Eh?

I will now crawl back into my cave and shut up before my boss tells me too.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how important smell is in determining the validity of some of these issues!

Pinky and The Brain said...

Follow your nose, it always knows.

Anonymous said...

Nice! (smile intended)

Anonymous said...

Is it true there is a Justice Department investigation going on about some security breech and Mitchell ... and we aren't supposed to be talking about it?

Anonymous said...

I personally suspect the incident did occur as has been discussed. That is, Mitchell got caught with a LANL laptop at home which had classified material on it.

The suddenness of his departure and the official explanations simply don't make any sense -- they don't pass the smell test.

Unfortunately, I also suspect that LANS has successfully buried the incident or we would have heard something by now.