Jan 18, 2009

Three Laptops?

A reader sent me this from The New Mexican today.
"January 18, 2008
Police Report
An unknown person kicked in the back door of a residence Friday between 9 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. in the 1300 block of Madrid Road and stole an iPod and three laptop computers belonging to Los Alamos National Laboratory."
They did not include a comment, but I imagine they were wondering the same thing as I - Who has three work laptops?

I wonder what the rest of the story is....


Anonymous said...

Indeed, who does have three LANL laptop?

Note an error in the date. The item was in today's (January 18th, 2009) New Mexican.

Anonymous said...

Hope it was a Bechtel person.

Anonymous said...

Let's see... one to run Windows, one to run MacOSX and one to run Linux. That just about covers it.

BTW, both Santa Fe and Albuquerque are being hit be a huge crime wave of late. It's probably an outcome of the very bad economy.

Home break-ins are starting to become very common in Santa Fe.

In Albuquerque, it's armed robbery that's on the rise! Just the other day, the 'Burg was hit with 3 bank robberies and two store robberies in a single afternoon! Lots of people are being held up by gun point at many of the gas stations around ABQ.

For the Hilltoppers in the crowd, aren't you glad you live in Los Alamos? I sure am!

Anonymous said...

If it is a Bechtel person, he will get a free pass, just like former Associate Director John Mitchell did when he got caught with a LANL laptop full of classified material at his home.

Mitchell was allowed leave LANL nearly a full year before the two-year term mandated by his contract so that he could "spend more time with his family", instead of spending quality time in a federal prison.



Frank Young said...

1/18/09 1:52 PM,
A Mac will also run Windows and linux.

Anonymous said...

"1/18/09 1:52 PM,
A Mac will also run Windows and linux."

Yeah, but who at LANL is smart enough to set it up. After all, you have to have an "IT" person do it. You can't do it yourself. Only "IT" people know how to set up systems to be "secure".

Maybe your division "IT" person will get to it within a year or so. It's cheaper to have 3, rather than wait for someone to learn how to do it and for that setup to be "approved".

Frank Young said...

Now THAT is depressing.

Anonymous said...

Before anyone at LANL abuses this person, the LANL top dogs should go after Neu and husband for their security boo boos ...

Anonymous said...

A Mac will also run Windows and linux.

1/18/09 2:15 PM

Frank, it's clear that you don't work at LANL. Yes, that would be an elegant solution, but getting it authorized might result in problems. Remember, we still aren't authorized to use Windows Vista at LANL!

The easier route for a staffer would be to simply have multiple laptops. That's the way LANL works. Cost is never an issue when you consider the TSM labor rate is pushing closer and closer to $500 K per year.

Frank Young said...

I worked (past tense) at LANL, never for LANL. After all I've seen and all this time blogging I would expect nothing to surprise me anymore. As I said, 3:12 PM's comment was depressing.

I used to lug around two laptops, one work and one personal dual-boot system. I had no idea why anyone would need three.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the news seldom gets the facts right...every story I've ever seen where I had personal, direct knowledge of the story had material facts wrong.

Example: Jessica Quintana was *not* an archivist, she was a scanning technician, nothing more. Yet the news persisted in calling her an archivist until the story ran out of steam.

Anonymous said...

"Now THAT is depressing"

No - factual. LANL used to recognize that there were many ways for groups/divisions to pay for computer support and allow them the freedom to do what worked best from them. Now the financial model includes centralized support which means cookbook solutions from mainly unskilled employees who are not direct employees of the groups/divisions and thus serve two masters.

Unfortunately, this support is mainly managed by AB, not the brightest star in the sky when it comes to understanding computer support or computers in general. He managed to destroy competent, cost effective computer support in a large division before moving on to destroying it at LANL.

Anonymous said...

JQ wasn't even a LANL employee. She was a poorly qualified sub-contract employee who found employment with a small minority owned business.

Many of the screw-ups that get reported as problems at LANL are actually screw-ups done by the sub-contractors which LANL hires. This is especially true for most of the construction or transport related mishaps.

Doesn't matter, though, as the news always reports it as if it was a screw-up by a LANL employee.

Anonymous said...

6:48 pm: Too true. The media is mostly wrong on details, at least early-on in a story. Rush for scoops and failure to verify and confirm. JQ is by no means the only example. Sometimes, the source for the media (e.g., DOE or NNSA) is providing incorrect information, intentionally or unintentionally. Everyone has an agenda, no one thinks truth is the most important aspect of a "story."

Anonymous said...

I hate to disappoint the "LANL is stupid" crowd, but I have an Apple laptop with XP installed and operational. I did it all be myself without the help of IT. Never thought much of doing it as it took all of about 20 minutes to from start to finish.

The sad thing really is that LANL's IT department usually screws up Apple machines and takes weeks to return them (probably charging more than the actual laptop cost!). The other sad thing is that the reason most Apple users need XP isn't for specialized software but to use various LANL databases and forms for the business side of LANL.

Anonymous said...

Three laptops? Maybe nepotism is the reason. Maybe a LANS upper-level manager, her LANL-employee spouse, and their LANL-employee son all took LANL laptops home.

Anonymous said...

Well, there goes the LANL 3 laptops at home privilege. Bummer.

Anonymous said...

"I did it all be (sic) myself without the help of IT." (10:05 AM)

By significantly modifying the OS on your LANL issued laptop, you may have invalidated your unclassified computer security plan, 10:05 AM.

I certainly hope that LANL IT knows what you did and have modified your PC security plan for this laptop. Otherwise, you are in deep trouble, my friend.

Anonymous said...

There may be more than one LANL employee in the home.

And before people start screaming nepotism, note that scientists often marry other scientists, and encourage their children to become scientists. Usually, the TSMs either married before they moved here, or are in completely different areas of the Lab and met socially, not at work.

Anonymous said...

After all the BS, I cannot imagine still having a piece of LANL property offsite. I've had several over the years and returned them all a few years ago. Safety, security, property - a few areas where any exposure beyond training and acknowledgement is high-risk. These days, your risk cross-section can never be too small. I'd leave my badge in my office if I could.

Anonymous said...

Maybe along with the laptops they found classified CREM, a mustang, and the disk drives that never existed.

Anonymous said...

Unforetunately, I must agree that taking any government property off site is exposing yourself to trouble. No good deeds go unpunished.

HOWEVER, if you are really shrewd, e.g., Wen Ho Lee, you might be able to score $3M in a lawsuit if they screw you over in public. This is a bit off of the subject, but I sure hope that Lillian Anaya takes CBS to the cleaners.

Anonymous said...

WOW! this has the potential to become very big story!

Anonymous said...

Hope this person didn't have PII on their computers. I hate to see what kind of fall-out will result.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:51

Yeah IT knows and it is all cool. You need to chill out "my friend".

Anonymous said...

These laptops should have LANL stickers on them. Knowing the stupidity of most burglars, they may show up soon after being fenced for cash.

Burglaries are on the rise. The local Radio Shack was burglarized along with one the town's fitness centers last Monday. The thieves smashed through glass doors to make their way in to the stores. With the economy going into a tailspin, it's probably only a matter of time before Los Alamos starts to see a significant increase in home burglaries.

Anonymous said...

1/19/09 8:44 PM

With 2000 layoffs the crime will certainly go up!

Anonymous said...

"With 2000 layoffs the crime will certainly go up!" - 7:49 AM

Both Sen. Udall and Director Anastasio have said that LANL's future looks bright. You have nothing to worry about. There will be no RIF. We are in good hands.

Anonymous said...

So, I shouldn't have 12 LANL computers at home plus three printers? What will my kids do their homework on? How will my wife run her business?

Anonymous said...

1/21/09 9:50 AM

Yeah right, like heroine is getting cheaper. Got to keep the whole family supplied.

Anonymous said...

Heroin is apparently cheap and plentiful down in Espanola...

The Drug Capitals Of America - Forbes

by Nathan Vardi, 01.21.09

It may not be surprising that well-known urban centers like New Orleans, Baltimore, and San Francisco appear on the Forbes list of cities dealing with the worst drug problems in the nation. But some smaller communities are also facing epic battles with drugs, including tiny Española, N.M.

Española is a small city in rural Rio Arriba county, north of Santa Fe. Its population of roughly 10,000 includes a large Hispanic community, relies largely on Los Alamos National Lab for employment and struggles with a high poverty rate. This is the U.S. city that consistently ranks among the top in the nation in drug overdoses, according to federal statistics. It is tough to find another American city that records 42.5 drug-related deaths per 100,000, compared with a national average of 7.3.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to New Mexico, one of the most politically corrupt states in the US...


N.M. corruption 'epidemic,' fed says Agents took down political heavyweights

Wednesday, 21 Jan 2009

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A retiring FBI agent in the thick of investigating and prosecuting public officials said Tuesday New Mexico may be the most corrupt state in the nation.

New Mexico has a long list of corrupt politicians, and the list could be growing. High-profile political figures and associates have been convicted, and ongoing investigations are making frequent headlines.

Many of those cases began with FBI agents in Albuquerque.

"It's our No. 1 criminal program," Thomas McClenaghan, special agent in charge of the FBI Albuquerque field office, said.

Corruption scandals that took down former state Sen. Manny Aragón, once considered the most powerful politician in the Senate. Former State Treasurer Robert Vigil, his predecessor and a long list of criminal accomplices have been convicted or cut plea deals in federal court.

McClenaghan will lead Albuquerque's team of FBI agents only through the end of the week. He retires on Friday.

"From what we've seen here, corruption in this state is epidemic," he told KRQE News 13. "It is at all levels of government."

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked, shocked to find that there is corruption going on in NM!

(with apology)

Anonymous said...

Espanola is SUCH a nasty dump of a town... those drug rates don't surprise me one bit!

Anonymous said...

Espanola is SUCH a nasty dump of a town... those drug rates don't surprise me one bit!

1/22/09 4:11 PM

And LANL made it that way!!!!! How I do not know but ya LANL is to blame!

Anonymous said...

There is no excuse for Espanola being the heroin OD capital of the US. It's a crying shame.

Anonymous said...

1/22/09 8:21 PM

You are dumber than you sound, ifthat is at all possible. Without LANL you would be living in an adobe dump without poer or money. What kind of idiot bites the hand that feeds it? You have to be pretty GD dumb for one.

Anonymous said...

"You are dumber than you sound, ifthat is at all possible. Without LANL you would be living in an adobe dump without poer or money. What kind of idiot bites the hand that feeds it? You have to be pretty GD dumb for one.

1/22/09 11:38 PM"

Oh God another drunk is posting.

Anonymous said...

An update in the LA Monitor.


Anonymous said...

LANL computers stolen from Santa Fe home
By ROGER SNODGRASS, Monitor Editor

The Santa Fe Police Department and Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed Wednesday that three computers were stolen from a Santa Fe residence Friday.

Captain Gary Johnson, the public information officer for the criminal division, said there was evidence of forcible entry into the home in the 1300 block of Madrid Road, an east side Santa Fe neighborhood.

“There is nothing solid at this point,” he said, adding that there was no information about whether the computers held classified information.”

On Sunday the police reported that entry was gained to the residence through the backdoor, which was kicked in. The apparent burglary happened between 9 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Friday.

A lab scientist, Richard Epstein, who resides on that block, has been identified by cross-referencing the police information, as the custodian of the equipment. Epstein is a Project Leader for the Los Alamos Solid-State Optical Refrigerator program and the Focus Leader for Astrophysics at the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics, according to his profile on the LANL web site. His research is focused on “theoretical aspects of neutron stars, pulsars, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, nucleosynthesis, cosmic rays and galaxy formation.

An attempt to reach Epstein this morning was unsuccessful.

Kevin Roark, a spokesperson for Los Alamos National Laboratory also confirmed the occurrence.

“The investigation into the stolen property is naturally a matter for the Santa Fe police,” he said. “We’ve confirmed that the employee followed all lab policies for having unclassified government computer equipment in the home for official use. It’s fairly common for folks to have home systems.”

He said the three computers could be explained, in that one was an old PC used as back up and to run PC applications. The other two were Macs, one of them used for travel.

The laboratory has been plagued by security incidents in recent years, although an intense security effort has virtually eliminated any reports of security breaches since a rash of incidents in 2006 and early 2007.

LANL Director Michael Anastasio reported last month that the laboratory had fulfilled a set of requirements mandated by former Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. under a formal compliance order issued in 2007. Bodman ordered the laboratory managers to undertake an elaborate accreditation process to fix longstanding deficiencies in the lab’s classified information security program.

“It’s been the managerial and technical equivalent of a tsunami, but complying with the order strengthens our security posture,” said Alyn Ford, the project leader for the initiative, quoted in a laboratory newsletter. The elaborate upgrade of systems and safeguards had a Dec. 12 deadline.

Roark said the lab was still in the very early stages of the current investigation but that it appeared to be a residential break-in.

“It will take a little time to make a determination about all the details,” he said. “At this point, we have determined that the person followed all the policies that governed having the property.”

Monitor Managing Editor Carol Clark contributed to this story.

Anonymous said...

Epstein is a LANL Fellow. He'll be treated with velvet gloves by LANS. Still, the explanation given for having 3 laptops at home was screwy.

OK, I'll go along with the idea of having a Windows and a Mac machine. But a second Mac just for travel? My, the Fellows sure do live rich!

Anonymous said...

10:04 PM slung:
"My, the Fellows sure do live rich!"

You have got to be kidding me. Computers are incredibly cheap. A laptop costs less than one conference trip. You can question whether 3 computers were strictly necessary, but they are hardly extravagant.

Lots of expensive, specialized scientific software is only licensed for one architecture. That alone makes it worth buying a $1k computer to run your existing $5k license.