Jun 26, 2007

Security non-events

And speaking of fizzling, there was a minor debate, now died down, on the Lax and Lazy at Los Alamos post. The discussion centered around the significance of the latest two, in what have been a whole series of LANL security episodes reported lately by the media.

On one side of the debate, a commenter was complaining that the the reported episodes were, or should have been non-events. On the other side, yours truly objected to any reported LANL security event being labeled as a 'non-event'. After all, LANL has a firmly-established history of blowing non-events up until they achieve full national attention.

I refer, of course, to our famed predecessor director, George P. Nanos, himself. Did he not take a non-event (the non-missing DX CREM) and turn it into a $357 million 7-month nationally-reported event?

I rest my case, there are no reported security non-events at LANL.



Anonymous said...

Ah, Gussie, dude, you said in another post that 2 non-events can't make an event. That's you channeling your inner physicist I bet.

Make up your mind! You also just said that Adm. Butthead took non-events and turned them into events.

Which will it be? Can non-events become events? Or not?

GussieFinkNottle said...

Food for thought, indeed. I'm going to need another cup of coffee if you're going to get all existential on me.


Anonymous said...

"Food for thought, indeed. I'm going to need another cup of coffee if you're going to get all existential on me."

I'm just trying to understand how you can come down on both sides of the issue. Which you just did.

GussieFinkNottle said...

You refer, no doubt, to this:

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?

Where I was taking my opponent's point of view to demonstrate it's fallacy, using a technique known as sarcasm.

The careful observer will note that sarcasm has again just been used.

Are we done now?


Anonymous said...


I think the problem is that you
are mixing worlds. In one world,
the so called "fact based world of reason" these are non-events in that no security is threatened and that the number of such minor incidents are much lower at LANL than at almost every other goverment run organization. On the other hand in "perception based world of BS" these are major events on the order of Paris Hilton being released from jail and Britney Spears cutting her hair off, who got voted off American Idol, and the ending of the Sopranos. In this world events of no consequence take on a particular potency becuase they are truley existenial in that how
significant they are is not decided by any so called "external reality" but by ourselves. Since there are no constaints imposed by reality the amount of significance we can attribute to a non-event is unbounded. On the other hand a reality based event will have to have some actual bound on how significant it is, therefore statisticaly speaking "BS events" are always far more significant that actual events.

Now the question is, which world do you think the United States is living in? With that I conclude that Gussie is correct.

Anonymous said...

For a "non-event" at LANL, we sure are going through a lot of effort at LLNL regarding laptops.

Anonymous said...

"Did he not take a non-event (the non-missing DX CREM) and turn it into a $357 million 7-month nationally-reported event?"

I refer, no doubt, to that.

Or do you feel that the non-missing CREM was an event?

nice way to avoid the question, though.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose the "others" mentioned below is D'Agostino and Congress? Do you suppose Mikey is finally realizing that his huge salary might disappear sooner rather than later?

LANL Statement in response to Newsweek Magazine article about security issues at Lab

In its most recent story about security issues at Los Alamos Newsweek magazine does its readers a disservice by portraying the current situation in a sensationalistic manner that is far more dramatic than accurate.

First, the Laboratory has not experienced two more "breaches" of security, as the story asserts, and we also disagree strongly with Newsweek's choice of a headline.

A Laboratory employee on vacation in Ireland recently had a LANL laptop computer stolen out of the employee's guest room. After a full and comprehensive review, computer forensics experts at the Lab have determined with a very high level of confidence that the laptop did not contain any classified materials or any personally identifiable information, nor were any national security interests jeopardized.

On the subject of errant e-mail, the Laboratory has a robust program to assure that when an e-mail is accidentally sent containing unauthorized information, that an effective and rapid program is employed to protect that information and assure that its potential vulnerability is limited while taking aggressive corrective actions to prevent recurrence.

Are Newsweek, and others, holding Los Alamos National Laboratory alone to a standard of security unprecedented in the Federal Government? The recent tendency to hold this Laboratory accountable for its employees being anything less than "perfect" is unrealistic. Los Alamos employees take security very seriously and have made great improvements in the past six months across all aspects of security, particularly in the area of cybersecurity. To discount these efforts is inaccurate and insulting.

Anonymous said...

Insulted, we are, Mikey Ewok?

Welcome to the club. Most of us at LANL were insulted when your predecessor disregarded the facts surrounding the supposedly missing DX CREM, and chose the sensationalistic path of shutting the whole place down instead.

It's called karma. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

When secrets leak and the head of the agency responsible for those secrets gives a pass to his friends by saying they weren’t important secrets or leaked unintentionally – who should be going to jail?

If something isn’t “important” than it shouldn’t be classified; if it is, it should. How does “motive” have any relevance in disclosing America’s closest held secrets? The botched handling of the Wen Ho Lee affair by the justice department and the then Secretary of Energy and current governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson bumbling set a standard of arrogance. A standard untouched until last week when Secretary of Energy Bodman dismissed “classified” information transmission over the world wide web as human error. On the one hand a young minority women who took classified information to “catch up on her work” was recently arrested, prosecuted and tossed out of a once promising career working for the Energy Department at Los Alamos. On the other hand, highly trained, security knowledgeable senior executives of the los Alamos M&O contractor and its consultant exposed America’s classified secrets on the world wide net did so according to Bodman “unintentionally”. Later statements form the Secretary attempted to trivialize the classified information saying it was unimportant.

The Secretary of Energy just doesn’t get it. At what point did it become okay to disclose information of any description that was “classified”.

Robert Hansson gave away national secrets for the “fun of it” to play the “big man on campus” with a stripper. Secretary Bodman and the Justice Department prosecuted a young Hispanic woman for having classified information in her home and yet the LANL blog alleges that the Deputy Lab Directory, former Admiral John Mitchell simply retired (under similarly suspicious circumstances).

That Secretary Bodman would take a “Boys will be Boys” attitude and that leaking is okay when it is done by senior government and contractor officials because it is unintentional. Their individual 30- 40 years of classification knowledge, training and experience aside, these senior officials make mistakes. The Secretary would have us believe there isn’t a systemic problem with the security system and processes. What does he call a culture of denial and fabrication of excuses for his “fat old white men’s club” who unintentionally disclose America’s Nuclear Weapons secrets? The arrogance of underestimating our enemies because we don’t think they are as smart as we are, is inexcusable. Worse, it is treasonous!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised this blog has not picked up on the latest "non-event" issue that happened earlier this week.

GussieFinkNottle said...

Which was...?

Anonymous said...

The latest drug event. If it has not come out by next week, I'll provide more.

Pinky and The Brain said...

This one?

Anonymous said...

No the HRP cocane dealing employee. Sheesh! But the spin will be "what he does on his own time" is his business. He didn't jeopardize security (he was too stoned?).
The media will hype our abiulity to screen out vumerabilities. And so, do i hear another shoe dropping in the distant city that runs our lives?
Nah - it was just the distant drumbeat of Hallelujah!

Pinky and The Brain said...

HRP? Are you pulling my leg?

Anonymous said...

"Leg"? Nope, please pass another thigh!