Global Security Newswire
U.S. lawmakers yesterday pressed the Energy Department to improve its effort to protect nuclear-weapon data from foreign intelligence services (see GSN, July 16).
Leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee cited a Congressional Research Service report released Friday that documents the department’s long history of security lapses and its uncertain efforts to create an effective counterintelligence program.
“Many believe that sensitive nuclear weapons information has ‘certainly’ been lost [to] espionage,” the report says. “In countless other instances such information has been left vulnerable to theft and duplication. Although the damage to national security resulting from such lapses has been difficult to calculate, DOE has been warned on many occasions that its ‘lackadaisical oversight’ could lead to an increase in the nuclear threat to the United States.”
The 25-page report drew criticism from committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.).
“I plan to work with my colleagues to conduct a thorough review of how the Department of Energy protects our nation’s secrets to ensure that the alleged ‘reforms’ promulgated by this administration have not made things worse,” he said in a press release.
“Given DOE’s record of treating secrets at the Los Alamos National Laboratory like leftover napkins, we could all use some reassurance that security problems haven’t infected the department’s counterintelligence programs, too,” added ranking panel Republican Joe Barton (Texas) (U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee release, July 28).