Mar 27, 2008

Unclassified Foreign Visits and Assignments Program

The DOE IG's Office of Audit Services released a Special Report today on The Department's Unclassified Foreign Visits and Assignments Program. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, perhaps our readers could help out. Here's an excerpt:
Mitigating Security Risks
Weaknesses in the Department's foreign visits and assignments program increase the security risk for the Department's facilities and information. For example, at least one visitor accessed a laboratory using a valid identification badge on two occasions the month after his assignment had been revoked. Site officials were unaware of the unauthorized access until we brought it to their attention.

The unauthorized access is exacerbated by the fact that the same visitor's background check had expired four months prior to the two unauthorized visits, which were made after the site's normal operating hours. Due to the fact that foreign national maintained an active visit and security badge in laboratory systems, he was able to access the site without question. Neither the host nor other site officials could explain his purpose or whereabouts on the site. The situation could have been avoided had the visit been closed and site access terminated at the same time the assignment was revoked.
[Download a copy of DOE/IG-0791 here.]

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, this will certainly mean, more training for the host, more scrutiny for the FNs resulting in fewer scientists working at the lab. But who wants to work at LANL nowadays anyway. DOE/NNSA always likes to forget that, given the reluctance of US citizens to pursuit a career in science, FNs are the major source of scientists who eventually become naturalized citizen and, further, Q cleared.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not quite sure what to make of it.."

Well, since LANL is the DOE lab with the largest number of foreign nationals, I think we can make a good guess. There will be efforts to harass FNs until they finally give up and leave.

Take a look at the new DOE/NNSA requirements for clearance of Q/L cleared visitors. They now pretty much have to come back to a secure area of the lab every 90 days or the DOE clearance is pulled. This should serve to help kill off some of the lab's connections with outside scientists who consult with LANL scientists on national security issues.

If you didn't know any better, you would think that DOE and NNSA are actively working to destroy any real science done at the labs.

Anonymous said...

Just found out this week about two more young, bright scientists at LANL who have decided to call it quits and are leaving the lab. Scientists are voting with their feet, not that LANS seems to really care a wit.

Anonymous said...

The NNSA labs are clearly at the tipping point of disaster. People are going to look back in four or five years and realize that this was the year in which the NNSA labs took a definitive path towards a bleak future.

LANL will probably begin to look somewhat like the heavily downsized Savannah River Lab (SRL). Having witnessed what happened to SRL, it's difficult to watch this play out yet again.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that Mike Anastasio seems to have a security escort around him at times, usually when he is leaving the lab or not on lab property. What's up with that? Anyone know what's going on?

Anonymous said...

To 5:46 Why do you think he has security? duh.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, 6:44 PM. As badly hated as Nanos was I never saw a security detail around him at any time.

Anonymous said...

Nanos was a "Military" type who could take care of himself (if needed), Mikey on the other hand, well... may need some help.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a shit?

The guy was fully vetted prior to first access. If he is going to go bad, does it matter if it is while he has current access or after?

Another molehill. Too many useless f.... at DOE with nothing to do.

Anonymous said...

" I've noticed that Mike Anastasio seems to have a security escort around him at times...Anyone know what's going on?"

Who gives a poop? Too many useless DOE f....s with too little to do...

Anonymous said...

From 5:46 "I've noticed that Mike Anastasio seems to have a security escort around him at times, usually when he is leaving the lab or not on lab property. What's up with that? Anyone know what's going on?"

The prick is afraid because he has finally realized that nobody at the Lab likes him and that we know he is intentionally torpedoing the Lab. Might also explain why he has cancelled more All-manager meetings than he has actually held and avoides speaking to the troups.

Pinky and The Brain said...

"I've noticed that Mike Anastasio seems to have a security escort around him at times, usually when he is leaving the lab or not on lab property. What's up with that? Anyone know what's going on?"

Are you sure he always takes security, or is it only when he goes to Cheeks to meet whistleblowers?

Anonymous said...

11:09 AM poster wrote: "If you didn't know any better, you would think that DOE and NNSA are actively working to destroy any real science done at the labs."

They are, and have done a damn good job of it too. From the butthead who used to run DOE's foreign visits and assignments office a few years back to the paranoid nuts at HQ who've never set foot outside of the US, and wouldn't know a spy if he bit them in the ass. Yes sir, these are the folks makin' our labs safe from foreigners, and killing science at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Before the DOE degenerated to far below the half-wit level they realized that having foreign scientists at LANL actually enhanced our security. When the foreigners saw how good life was in the USA they all wanted to defect and tell us everything about their programs in exchange.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, the FV&A folks at the Lab have an almost-impossible job, trying to serve the large numbers of foreign nationals and their hosts, while also trying to comply with voluminous DOE/NNSA requirements. They have to worry about visa status, state department, and other agency, watch lists, CI requirements, US export control regulations, all while trying to comply with usually unrealistic deadlines for arrival set by clueless and demanding host organizations. They have more than one customer, and many federal regulations and laws to comply with, and are doing their best, with declining resources, to serve all. Give them a break. Blame the federal bureaucracy, not the LANL folks who are going above and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Why was the assignment "revoked'?

Who told the IG but not "site officials", and why?

What country was the visitor from?

Anonymous said...

"In all fairness,..... not the LANL folks who are going above and beyond."

Sorry. No Free pass. A visitor on-site is the only definition of success.

Programs are not able to get mission critical foreign visitors access in a reasonable time. 45 days of roadblocks is not the definition of Mission Success. Too hard is not the definition of Mission success.

More NNSA roadblocks with solution.
More failure. Perhaps a 35% rating is too high.

Anonymous said...

((((( --- FREE TIBET!!! --- )))

Here's an excellent reason to be at least a little bit wary of having Chinese mainland scientists working at LANL:


en.epochtimes.com/news/8-3-29/68263.html

X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X

Toronto Chinese Rally Turns Ugly

Participants heckle Tibetans: 'Leave Canada.' Mayor's China trip questioned
Epoch Times Toronto Staff

TORONTO — A rally that was billed as promoting "anti-violence" turned hostile on Saturday as flag-waving Chinese denounced Tibetans who they blamed for the recent turmoil in Tibet in which 100 are said to have died.

Close to 1000 Chinese were in Toronto's Dundas Square for the afternoon event, many of them students.

"Dalai Lama die there!" some Chinese shouted at a group of Tibetans who had gathered across the street from the square to protest. "Leave Canada!" others urged.

Tibetans say the Chinese rally, which began orderly, was designed to incite hate against them.

The event was promoted in Chinese-language press as a rally to tell the "truth" about Tibet and "safeguard the reunification of the motherland."

Several major Chinese-language media outlets in Canada have parroted the Chinese communist regime's line on Tibet, blaming the turmoil on the Dalai Lama and his followers and fanning a nationalist animosity toward Tibetans.

Angry Chinese turned on the Tibetan protesters, hollering "Dalai Lama die there!" "Dalai Lama lies!" "Liars, liars!" and "Leave Canada!"

They also sang communist party songs.

Police detained one man after he charged across a busy street to where the Tibetans were protesting, waving a large Chinese flag. He was identified as University of Toronto student Yang Shao by other students in the square.

(PHOTO) This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)

X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X

The fellow in this article by the name of 'Yang Shao' appears to be a Ph.D scientist studying nanoscale materials at McMaster University outside of Toronto. He recieved his B.Eng and M.A.Sc from Tsinghua University, (China) in Materials Science and Engineering.

((((( --- FREE TIBET!!! --- )))

Anonymous said...

10:17 am: "Programs are not able to get mission critical foreign visitors access in a reasonable time."

Hey, get a clue. Foreign nationals at a US nuclear weapon facility are a PROBLEM. Do yourself a favor, compare the number of FNs at LANL with the numbers at SNL and LLNL. The FV&A office will be glad to provide those numbers. I'm surprised NNSA hasn't completely shut down the foreign visitor program yet. Don't worry, they will, once someone puts those same numbers under their noses.

Anonymous said...

"3/30/08 3:29 PM"

Of all the so called scandals at LANL not one has had anything to do with a foreign national. Get you facts straight before you say it is a problem.

By the way in the United States more than 50% of faculty hires and Ph.d graduats are foreign natioanls. Also if you go around to varies schools they consider the foreign nationals to be much stronger students. What the cause of this is remains a question of debate. LANL has more way more science than LLNL or Sandia, if you want science you have to have foreign nationals. By the way the science that is done at LLNL and Sandia has a large FN component.

Anonymous said...

5:09 pm: I have my facts straight - you didn't question one of them. How about you get your spelling and gramar straight?

The fact is that NNSA is considering shutting down uncleared foreign visitors at the nuclear weapons labs. Science is science. Let them do it at universities.

Anonymous said...

I am assuming that you, 5:09, are a foreign national, based on your arguments.

Get your resume in order, because I expect that uncleared foreign nationals will leave LANL when Senator Domenici leaves DC.

I think that will be bad for LANL and the nation, but it will still happen.

Anonymous said...

Hey Micky,,,

Why don't you continue to whack the hell out of FV&A budget and the systems budget and expect everything to work. WTH, it didn't bother anything in the past.

But then again, why does Bechtel need FN's when all they are interested in is production or construction projects.

WAY TO GO YOU D.C. IDIOTS!

Anonymous said...

"
The fact is that NNSA is considering shutting down uncleared foreign visitors at the nuclear weapons labs"

This is simply not true.

Anonymous said...

"if you want science you have to have foreign nationals." - 5:09 PM


Not true. There are plenty of American scientists who can do good scientific work and would be willing to work at NNSA weapons labs if the conditions were right, i.e., good pay, solid pension, excellent job security, the ability to get work done without stifling bureaucracy... basically, the conditions we had before NNSA decided to muck up the place.

Are you listening, DOE/NNSA? I thought not. Fire away and keep destroying the heart and soul of your once great labs. Loyalty, once lost, is almost never regained.

Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of American scientists who can do good scientific work "

How much longer will even this be true? Which career path would you currently recomend to a bright young person, investment banking or science?

Anonymous said...

"...I'm surprised NNSA hasn't completely shut down the foreign visitor program yet..."

So am I, NNSA writes rules only to cover it's bottom, without bothering with the impact a rule might have on how work gets done. Leave that to the Programs to sort out.

I too am surprized whenever anyone gets any effective work done, I keep thinking another NNSA demi-COP will make up a reason to slow it down.

And no, xenophobe, foreign folks aren't intrisically any worse than us cretins.... get out a bit.

Anonymous said...

US citizens are sitting in front of lie detectors, not foreign ones.

Who do we suspect? Everybody. Especially bloggers.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Nobody has asked me to take a lie detector test. Who suspects me of what?

Anonymous said...

I suspect that you are trying to take over the world. Narf.

Anonymous said...

Which career path would you currently recomend to a bright young person, investment banking or science? 12:32 AM

That has got to be the stupidest question ever!! You have internet access, why don't you pull your head out of your ass and google "Bear Stearns". Those folks are wishing they had a secure job at LANL!
In addition, some of us actually enjoy doing science, even if it isn't the world's best paying job.

Anonymous said...

"if you want science you have to have foreign nationals." - 5:09 PM

Not true. There are plenty of American scientists who can do good scientific work and would be willing to work at NNSA weapons labs if the conditions were right, i.e., good pay, solid pension, excellent job security, the ability to get work done without stifling bureaucracy... basically, the conditions we had before NNSA decided to muck up the place.


Problem is, the conditions are apparently never right for US citizens to do science. Whenever I have advertised a science position either at the lab or now at an University a huge majority of applicants are FNs (either already living in the US or from abroad).

Anonymous said...

Hey, 7:12 AM, before Bear Stearns went belly-up many of those workers were making fat annual bonuses of over $200K per year in addition to their huge salaries. If they didn't save any money from those good years then that is too bad.

The investment bankers are not hurting, regardless of what Wallstreet may want you to believe. The Fed has got their backs covered and will keep loaning them lots of free cash whenever they need it.

As for me, I would much prefer my kids became successful investment bankers than see them become one of the sheepish looking scientists that wander the halls of NNSA labs.

Anonymous said...

A simple fact - US Children's math scores are lower than the scores of children in 23 developed countries.

Guess where the FN's come from?

Guess whose children will be our next generation of scientists?

Guess who is to blame for the US' children's poor perfomance in school?

Before you say teachers, look at yourselves as parents. Do you value education? Do you value reading? Do you come home from work tired and just want your kids to play video games or watch TV and leave you alone? Do you attend ALL school functions, open houses, meet with teachers at conference time, support the teachers in your communities, encourage your children to read, read, read?

Don't knock the FN's because their kids are going to be paying your social security benefits!

Anonymous said...

"Before you say teachers, look at yourselves as parents. Do you value education? Do you value reading? Do you come home from work tired and just want your kids to play video games or watch TV and leave you alone? Do you attend ALL school functions, open houses, meet with teachers at conference time, support the teachers in your communities, encourage your children to read, read, read?"

Umm, yes. My spouse and I make it a point to do so.

Anonymous said...

+++ Pentagon staffer guilty of handing secrets to China agent - AFP, Mar 31 06:12 PM US/Eastern

A Pentagon official pleaded guilty Monday to passing US military secrets to an agent working for China after being showered with gifts and gambling money, the Department of Justice said.

Gregg William Bergersen, 51, faces up to 10 years in jail after admitting to one count of conspiracy to disclose national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, the department said in a statement.

Bergersen worked as a weapons systems policy analyst at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which implements the Pentagon's foreign military sales program.

Patrick Rowan, acting assistant attorney general for national security, said Bergersen had "betrayed his oath to serve and protect our nation."

"This case serves as a reminder that espionage networks are relentless in their efforts to steal our secrets and continue to pose a serious threat to our national security," he said.

China's foreign secret service is among the "most aggressive" in trying to steal sensitive US military technology and information, US Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell charged last September.

A week ago, Chinese-born US engineer Chi Mak was jailed for 24 years after being convicted of conspiring to smuggle sensitive technology about US Navy submarines to China.

Anonymous said...

They're just trying to get the secret of how to keep the torch lit in the smog.

What's a few hookers among friends?

Anonymous said...

Chinese Spy 'Slept' In U.S. for 2 Decades

Espionage Network Said to Be Growing

By Joby Warrick and Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writers

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Prosecutors called Chi Mak the "perfect sleeper agent," though he hardly looked the part. For two decades, the bespectacled Chinese-born engineer lived quietly with his wife in a Los Angeles suburb, buying a house and holding a steady job with a U.S. defense contractor, which rewarded him with promotions and a security clearance. Colleagues remembered him as a hard worker who often took paperwork home at night.

Eventually, Mak's job gave him access to sensitive plans for Navy ships, submarines and weapons. These he secretly copied and sent via courier to China -- fulfilling a mission that U.S. officials say he had been planning since the 1970s.

Mak was sentenced last week to 24 1/2 years in prison by a federal judge who described the lengthy term as a warning to China not to "send agents here to steal America's military secrets." But it may already be too late: According to U.S. intelligence and Justice Department officials, the Mak case represents only a small facet of an intelligence-gathering operation that has long been in place and is growing in size and sophistication.

The Chinese government, in an enterprise that one senior official likened to an "intellectual vacuum cleaner," has deployed a diverse network of professional spies, students, scientists and others to systematically collect U.S. know-how, the officials said. Some are trained in modern electronic techniques for snooping on wireless computer transactions. Others, such as Mak, are technical experts who have been in place for years and have blended into their communities.

Anonymous said...

All you foreign visitor hosts ought to think very carefully about 10:13 am's post. How much do you really know about the background of your visitor? Access to a clearance or not, this is really eye-opening.

Anonymous said...

"All you foreign visitor hosts ought to think very carefully about 10:13 am's post. How much do you really know about the background of your visitor? Access to a clearance or not, this is really eye-opening.

4/3/08 8:39 PM"

Fair enough point but remember all the really big spy cases in past have all involved US citzens. So if you host anyone you should ask yourself much do you really know about your visitor.