Friday, December 15, 2006

 

LANL = Titanic ?


No. 2 Official At Los Alamos Resigns

CBS News: National Lab's Deputy Director Quits Amid Security Scandal



(CBS News) WASHINGTON A top official with Los Alamos National Laboratory is quitting in the wake of the latest security scandal, CBS News has confirmed.

The resignation of John Mitchell, who had been Deputy Director at the Laboratory for less than a year, was quietly announced on internal Lab e-mails last week, the same day the CBS Early Show aired an exclusive report about how easy it was for a young lab worker to walk out with classified documents.

Los Alamos spokesman Kevin Roark said, however, that "John Mitchell's retirement has absolutely no connection to any security issues at the Laboratory."

In announcing his resignation, Mitchell told co-workers he wanted to concentrate on the next phase of his life. Watchdogs in Congress have been outraged at the continuing series of security breaches and management problems at Los Alamos, despite promises that things would be fixed.

Twenty-two-year-old Jessica Quintana, a former weapons data archivist at Los Alamos, has been under FBI investigation since October when police found the documents by accident in her trailer home while conducting a drug raid on her roommate. Authorities also found several portable storage devices called "thumb drives" containing classified documents.

Sources say Quintana had a top secret security clearance that allowed her access to such sensitive information as how to deactivate the locks on nuclear weapons. She was tasked with archiving data from decades of U.S. underground nuclear weapons tests. Quintana walked out of the lab unchecked last August with the documents and thumb drives in her backpack.

Today, Representative Ed Markey of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told CBS News: "No matter how many times you rearrange, re-design, retire or replace the deck chairs, Los Alamos is still the Titanic. Superficial attempts to demonstrate that there is any accountability at the lab will yield no useful results until the systemic and long-standing security failures associated with both management and lab culture are fixed."


By CBS News Capitol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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[And Mitchell = Leonardo di Caprio ? --Pat, the (puzzled) Dog]

As 'llc01' puts it:

Indeed LANL is spiraling down. I know of several outstanding scientists who have left, or are leaving LANL. Previous administrations would investigate each such case, and try to offer an incentive (usually salary) to keep these people. But not LANS - attrition improves the bottom line! What they don't realize is that these are the scientists that make LANL the Mecca that attracts more junior talented employees who become the future generation doing the best science.

And lets lay the blame squarely on LANS for doubling to tripling the number of upper level management, at a cost between $35M and $40M for them and their staff.This is equivalent to funding for about 100 scientists. This is beyond contract fees, gross receipts tax, etc., and was needless.

Comments:
I was puzzled by Mitchell's sudden departure as well. I didn't, of course, believe the "official'" stories that Mitchell had suddenly discovered that he had a family. One thing that has not changed since LANS took over is that Kevin Roark is still the mouthpiece for any lie that LANL management chooses to spew. His lips were moving: he was lying.

The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that Bechtel wanted to appease DOE with a scapegoat of appropriate rank. What I don't understand is why they chose Mitchell instead of Anastasio. I guess Anastasio has an employment contract similar to what Nanos had, and it would just be to expensive to fire him outright. When they want to get rid of Anastasio (to make it a Bechtel full house in the LANL management chain) they will have to buy him off like they did with Nanos.

Our system is corrupt.
 
LANS Carpetbaggers

As the follwing excerpt from the UC regents meeting confirms, the top managment of LANS is nothing more than a bunch of carpetbaggers with golden parachutes back to LLNL.


LAB SALARIES ITEMS APPROVED AT JUNE 2006 REGENTS

MICHAEL R. ANASTASIO, LANS PRESIDENT AND LANL DIRECTOR

During his five-year appointment as LANS
President/LANL Director, will receive an
annual non-base building supplement in the
amount of $100,000 in addition to his base
salary of $367,000 ($350,000 paid by LANS and $17,700 by the
University).

Automobile allowance of $743 per month.

Following his service at LANS and when he
retires, the purchase of an annuity (or buy-
back of UCRP service credit if appropriate) in
the amount necessary to compensate for
the loss in pension benefits attributable to his
actual period of service at LANS rather
than remaining under the UC Retirement Plan, to
be calculated by appropriately off-
setting the amount of employer contributions
that he will have received in the LANS
market-based benefit package.

If he is terminated without cause prior to the
end of his five-year term, or resigns from
his position after two years but before five
years, and accepts an appointment proposed
by the University, his then-existing base salary
as Laboratory Director, not including the
$100,000 University-paid salary supplement
referred to above, will be guaranteed for the
balance of the 5-year period.

Participate in the newly-proposed LANS
performance incentive bonus program, which
may provide up to 20% of base pay.

The source of funding for these items is UCs
portion of the DOE management fee.

The compensation described above shall
constitute the University's total commitment until
modified by The Regents.


GLENN MARA, PRINCIPAL ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR WEAPONS PROGRAMS

One-time non-base building payment of $100,000.
Participate in the newly-proposed LANS
performance incentive bonus program, which
may provide up to 20% of base pay.


Reimbursement of actual relocation costs not
to exceed $20,000, from New Mexico to
the Bay Area are authorized at the end of a minimum two-year period.

One-time payment of the present value of the
difference in the amount of the monthly
retirement payments he will receive upon
retirement as compared to those he would have
received without the three-month break in UC
service that occurred from December 31,
2004- April 1, 2005 (when Mr. Mara was recruited
to return to active employment to
assist in the LANL efforts.) The amount of the
present value is estimated to be $5,000.

The source of funding for these items is
UC˙s portion of the DOE management fee.
The compensation described above shall
constitute the University's total commitment until
modified by The Regents.

CHARLES MCMILLAN, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR WEAPONS PHYSICS

One-time, non-base building payment of $60,000.
Participate in the newly-proposed LANS
performance incentive bonus program, which
may provide up to 20% of base pay.

A housing bonus of $
27,500 every six months,
for a period of up to two years, with a tax
gross-up to offset any adverse tax consequences.

Reimbursement of amounts related to
non-business travel to visit family during the
initial two-year period of employment with LANS
up to $22,000 annually, with a tax
gross-up to offset any adverse tax consequences.

Reimbursement (on a tax-equivalent basis) for
up to 24 months of the employer portion
of the cost of health care for his immediate
family members residing in California who
continue to be covered by their existing health
care provider with comparable health
insurance under COBRA provisions, until their
relocation to New Mexico, whichever
occurs first.
If Mr. McMillan leaves his LANS positions and
returns to Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, and there is no agreement with DOE
which allows transfer of pension credit,
he will be compensated by the amount necessary
to reflect any loss in pension credit for
the period of time he was employed by LANS, with
a tax gross-up to reflect any adverse
tax consequences resulting from the payment.

The source of funding for these items is UCs
portion of the DOE management fee.

The compensation described above shall
constitute the University's total commitment until
modified by The Regents.


BRET KNAPP, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR WEAPONS ENGINEERING

One-time, non-base building payment of $60,000.
Participate in the newly-proposed LANS
performance incentive bonus program, which
may provide up to 20% of base pay.

A housing bonus of $27,500 every six months,
for a period of up to two years, with a tax
gross-up to offset any adverse tax consequences.
Reimbursement of amounts related to
non-business travel to visit family during the
initial 2-year period of employment with LANS up
to $30,000 annually, with a tax
gross-up to offset any adverse tax consequences.

Reimbursement (on a tax-equivalent basis) for
up to 24 months of the employer portion
of the cost of health care for his immediate
family members residing in California who
continue to be covered by their existing health
care provider with comparable health
insurance under COBRA provisions, until their
relocation to New Mexico, whichever
occurs first.

If Mr. Knapp leaves his LANS positions and
returns to Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, and there is no agreement with DOE
which allows transfer of pension credit,
he will be compensated by the amount necessary
to reflect any loss in pension credit for
the period of time that he was employed by LANS,
with a tax gross-up to reflect any
adverse tax consequences resulting from the payment.

The source of funding for these items is
UC˙s portion of the DOE management fee.
The LANS proposal submitted to DOE-NNSA in July
2005 specified the salary amounts to
be paid to all key personnel. Recently the NNSA
advised that they would not reimburse
100% of the salaries as proposed. As a result,
at the LANS Board of Governors meeting
on May 23, 2006, each partner confirmed the
monies they would be responsible for in
making up the gap between the reimbursed and unreimbursed amounts. UC
will be responsible for making up a total of $61,025 in
base salaries during the next year.

In addition, the University will provide funding
for a LANS performance incentive program that
will cover UC-designated key personnel for LANS
under which they will be eligible to earn up
to 20% of their annual salary as a performance
incentive bonus. The maximum aggregate amount
of available bonus for the first year is approximately $536,000.

The compensation described above, including that
which was approved in prior meetings, shall
constitute the University's total commitment until modified by The
Regents.
 
Thanks, anonymous, for that nice piece of research on compensation for the new bigwigs. I actually don't think they worry very much about the amount of money it costs them to get rid of an upper manager. I think it is more admitting that there is any flaw whatsoever in their management. ("Make a mistake? We could never do such a thing.")
 
It's not The Titanic -- it's NASA. Career civil servants making decisions on advanced technologies they no nothing about.

Think of NNSA as the FEMA of nuclear weapons and you'll get a better picture of the situation.
 
According to reports, it seems like LANL isn't the only place that has problems with the handling of nuclear weapons data. Problems also appear to exist at the Whitehouse.

Funny, I don't recall seeing the story below getting much air play in the news media. And in this case, the info was leaked to everyone on the internet!

**********************************
November 3, 2006 - MARKEY ON BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S POSTING OF SECRET NUCLEAR GUIDE

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force on Non-Proliferation, released the following statement on the Administration’s posting on the Internet of data found in Iraq releasing secret nuclear bomb construction details:

“Today’s reports that highlight the Bush Administration’s attempt to rebut critics of their claims that Iraq had WMD programs by posting sensitive information found in Iraq on how to build nuclear weapons on the Internet has endangered people’s lives. The Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress have pursued a hypocritical and dangerous approach to safeguarding sensitive information. First, they claim a need for secrecy when it comes to politically damaging information about lack of progress or security in Iraq. Then they leak the name of a covert intelligence agent, and now they post secret directions on the Internet revealing damaging details on the manufacture of nuclear weapons because it suits their current political purposes. This is no joke – the Bush Administration and the GOP Congress have shown a reckless disregard for American lives and American security. We need to take this country in a new direction.”
**********************************
 
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