Saturday, January 27, 2007


Continuing Security Concerns at LANL

LANL: Congress set to probe lab's security failings

Andy Lenderman | The New Mexican
January 27, 2007

The name says it all: "Continuing Security Concerns at Los Alamos National Laboratory."

That's what Congress is calling its hearing scheduled for Tuesday to dig into security matters at the lab.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations is planning to call lab director Michael Anastasio and officials of the National Nuclear Security Administration among its witnesses.

"The director is very much looking forward to cooperating fully with the subcommittee and is eager to explain all that we've done in response to this incident," lab spokesman Kevin Roark said Friday, referring to the October discovery of classified information at the home of a former contract employee. No one has been charged with a crime in the case, but the FBI has investigated it.

The lab became involved in a major national story in 1999 over the FBI's investigation of Wen Ho Lee, a scientist who pleaded guilty to one count of mishandling classified information. Other security-related problems also arose in subsequent years, which congressional sources said was a factor in the government's decision to open up the lab's operating contract to a competitive bidding process.

Now the lab is operated by Los Alamos National Security LLC, which includes Bechtel National and the University of California as partners.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman this year fired NNSA's head, and security problems at the Northern New Mexico lab were listed among reasons for the dismissal.

None of New Mexico's three House members sits on the subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.

"There is no denying that Los Alamos has had some serious problems with its security regimen," U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said in a statement. "I hope the House oversight hearings will be focused on solutions and not grandstanding."

Contact Andy Lenderman at 995-3827 or

"The director is very much looking forward to cooperating fully with the subcommittee and is eager to explain all that we've done in response to this incident," lab spokesman Kevin Roark said Friday...


Right. Mike Anastascio is looking forward to sitting in front of this Congressional Inquisition. Yeah, and I'll bet he also enjoys slamming a hammer on his fingers in his off-hours as a way to gently unwind from the stresses at work. Kevin Roark is full of it.

Give me a break! The man is about to be burned at the stake by a jury of Congressional Grandstanders. This committee isn't interested in getting to the truth. They're interested in 15 second sound bites for the TV news and to feed to their folks back home. Nothing good nor constructive will come out of these hearing. Of that you can be sure.
I can see it now. During the Congressional hearings some Congressman will get up and say:

"What? You mean LANL has classified systems connect via Ethernet wires and hooked up to keyboards and monitors? I thought you had plugged all the holes? Explain how this happened!".

Then, the following week, a policy will come down from NNSA telling LANL to plug up all classified computer Ethernet, keyboard, and monitor ports with epoxy. Maybe we'll be given pencil and paper to work with, but only if the pencils aren't too sharply pointed and the paper is ragged on all sides to protect everyone from paper cuts.
Speaking of "security", "Congress", "grandstanding", and "Mitchell": do you suppose anyone thought to look around his house for a little glass pipe?

CREM de Meth, Part Deux.
If you think epoxy is a hoot come on down to the NNSA Service Center and see all the ports plugged by cardboard and red duct tape.
When facing a dragon in battle, pull out cigar and ask for light. Granted, you're still going to get fried, but at least it sounds cool. In other words Public Affairs at Los Alamos is all about postive spin, not about promoting truth or understanding. Far from it, you don't rise to the ranks of LANL Director by placing integrity above escaping responsibility.
Poster 1/28/2007 12:34 PM has a point. This is how Lab Legal has gotten to be the heart of this organization and plays the Director like a puppet - telling him and Public Affairs what to say, when to say it,and how to say it, etc. Most likely they have already told him to ignore the Mitchell event and how to address people who ask him questions during next week's hearings. How else did Rich Marquez and the rest of the Lab lawyers become so "invaluable."?
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