Tuesday, January 30, 2007

 

ELIMINATE NNSA ! !

Lawmakers weigh cutting nuclear security agency

By Jonathan Marino
jmarino@govexec.com

Lawmakers on Tuesday proposed eliminating the agency created seven years ago to oversee the country's nuclear weapons stockpile, citing continued security failures at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico.

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations said at a hearing that the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Energy Department, has not performed adequately. They cited an October incident at Los Alamos, N.M., in which local police responding to a domestic disturbance call discovered that a laboratory employee had classified data on nuclear weapons stored on small, portable hard drives.

The incident was the latest in a string of breaches that have prompted lawmakers to reconsider NNSA. The oversight agency was created in 1999 as part of Congress' response to the mishandling of classified information - again at Los Alamos - by Wen Ho Lee.

"NNSA was a management experiment gone wrong," said ranking member Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

Lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday they said will give Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman more authority over energy security. They also discussed the possibility of closing the Los Alamos laboratory entirely.

The Energy Department's inspector general testified at the hearing that mismanagement and security gaps - some of which department officials say have been repaired - caused the most recent Los Alamos incident. IG Gregory Friedman criticized management for "a lack of follow-through" on policy guidelines and a failure to conduct frequent enough oversight.

The IG said policies to improve the physical security of classified files need immediate implementation to prevent data theft. Policies for cybersecurity must be implemented universally throughout the Energy Department, he said.

Linda Wilbanks, NNSA's information chief, testified that all data ports, which are what the Los Alamos employee is believed to have used to download classified data, have been sealed.

Energy Department Deputy Secretary Clay Sell told lawmakers that, following the security breach, the department took steps to secure its data quickly. Reviews of security are ongoing, Sell said, but will be completed for Bodman in February. Subcommittee members said they will seek Bodman's testimony after the reports are finished.

©2007 by National Journal Group Inc. All rights reserved.

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Comments from an Anonymous Livermore person on Domenici's "brilliant idea" (NNSA):

"After 20 years at LLNL I can say with conviction that NNSA has been a complete failure and total waste of the taxpayers dollars... NNSA is directly responsible for the incompetent micro-mismanagement of both LLNL and LANL... NNSA is solely responsible the disastrous RFP that forced the creation of a for profit LLC to run LANL and bid on LLNL... NNSA demanded in the RFP that LANL employees be stripped of their UC retirement and benefits by requiring a stand alone HR program (something not required at other DOE labs - ANL, BNL, SLAC, etc or NASA's JPL or DOD's Lincoln Lab)... NNSA is responsible for the selection of the front company LANS LLC that supposedly exists with its unseen and heard from board of directors... and NNSA's bureaucracy is responsible for the convoluted requirements (business, security, ES&H) that confuse lab employees and hamstring effective operation of the labs... So yes Congress, please do the country a huge favor and eliminate NNSA before its incompetent and bungling managers do more damage to science and national security in this nation."

Comments:
Who created NNSA? Oh yeah it was Sen. Peter V Domenici, trying to bypass the DOE rules and regs...So far Iv'e heard from all of our Rep. in Washington, except (R) Sen. Peter V Domenici, I wonder what he thinks about all of this? NNSA turned out to be worse than DOE (if that's possible)
 
Linda needs to come to the NNSA Sevice Center in Albuquerque an inspect the method of sealing ports they have. It consists of cardboard and red duct tape.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I am curious as to why there has been no official lab-wide e-mail regarding the events of today in DC. All we got was another weather warning ... be safe, don't slip, don't park your car, etc.
 
Red tape on ports? We advanced from that method at LANL long ago. First came the red tape, then reflective mylar tape with warnings, then, of course epoxy injections straight into the ports (USB, Firewire, SCSI). Next will be the removal of the ethernet, keyboards and monitors, no doubt. That will then be followed by the removal of all mother boards.

Funny thing is, the current bans say nothing about plugging up the RS-232 serial ports. Now, serial ports may be slow, put they can still IO data very easily. Same with the old printer parallel ports. DVI digital video ports might also be put to use for transferring binary data at very high rates.

Thing is, there is probably no way to stop all possible IO transfer scenarios unless you plug up the power cord port with epoxy, but don't give that idea to NNSA.
 
Please, Please, Please kill NNSA!!!... Then move LANL under some other department, like DOD's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) or Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)... and put LLNL under DOE's Office of Science. This split might offer some real competition in the area of national security related research/science.
 
Both D'Agostino and Wilbanks were very lame at these hearings. They were an obvious embarrassment. Mikey did a pretty good job. At least he stepped in and corrected one of the Congressman who started to mistakenly believe that the LLC could earn $2 billion per year. D'Agostino was to dumb to even pick up on that one.

Wilbanks is also a real piece of work. She starts out her talk by telling all the Congressmen her educational credentials and where she had worked before. Who gives a shit! This lady is a real loser, and typical of the low quality of people that NNSA seems to have acquired.

I agree that NNSA should be killed off. We would be better off back in the DOE that under this group of low performers.
 
Let's do some math. The chance that some new security problem arises at LANL during the next 2 years is probably around 50%. The chance that it arises in the next 4 years is probably around 75%.

Now, when the next security problem occurs, we will:

(1) Lose LANS as the contractor with odds of about 100% (maybe not so bad an idea, but it will play havoc with the TCP1 pension, retirement medical, etc).

(2) Lose a large chunk of our classified programs with odds of perhaps 60%.


If the classified programs are removed from LANL, as Congress has threatened, then this will result in a very nasty layoff of around 30% to 40% of the LANL workforce. They'll keep limited PU production at LANL (they have no choice), but not much else that is classified.

These are not the sort of odds you would want to take to Las Vegas!

It's looking more and more to me like it's time to get out of here while you still have a Q-clearance and can use it to leverage into another job.

It's only a matter of time before the next storm hits, and when it does, it's going to pretty much finish this place off. The odds are stacked against us. Start planning your exit strategy now.
 
LANL is the only place I know of where the security of your job depends on not having a single one of the thousands of employees around you performing a screw up. What are the odds of that? Not very good, I suppose.
 
We've only got 5 months to fix things, according to Congress, so....


Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing
News had just come over, we had five months left to cry in
News guy wept and told us, LANL was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying

I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies
I saw boys, toys, electric irons and TV's
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people.

We got five months, stuck on my eyes
Five months, what a surprise
We got five months, my brain hurts a lot
Five months, that's all we got

-- Ziggy Stardust --
 
Get Ready for a large reduction in funds, workforce and mission,that seems to be the tone and the direction that this committee is headed. Most of our "classified work" will go to Sandia, and some to LLNL. Our Mission will be limited to "Pit Production" (but only until a permenant site is choosen) which may or may-not be LANL. The "Overhead" costs will take another chunk of money away from Science or doing any real work. What will be left will be a much smaller lab, with less-of-a mission, and very vulnerable to any future funding reductions...
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Why hasn't our "Public Affairs Office" informed us of the impending shit-storm about to converge over this place? Mikey did not look too happy in the witness chair when he was asked "What consequences he faced from the board" for the latest Security Incident...His answer was "None" I don't think this Investigation is over by any means, there is more to come, the committe will be briefed by the FBI, and the "Mitchell" affair continues to baffle......
 
Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too

I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

I'm the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between the rock and the hard place
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck

Now I'm hiding in Honduras
I'm a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The sh*t has hit the fan

(Warren Zevon)
 
After 20 years at LLNL I can say with conviction that NNSA has been a complete failure and total waste of the taxpayers dollars... NNSA is directly responsible for the incompetent micro-mismanagement of both LLNL and LANL... NNSA is solely responsible the disastrous RFP that forced the creation of a for profit LLC to run LANL and bid on LLNL... NNSA demanded in the RFP that LANL employees be stripped of their UC retirement and benefits by requiring a stand alone HR program (something not required at other DOE labs - ANL, BNL, SLAC, etc or NASA's JPL or DOD's Lincoln Lab)... NNSA is responsible for the selection of the front company LANS LLC that supposedly exists with its unseen and heard from board of directors... and NNSA's bureaucracy is responsible for the convoluted requirements (business, security, ES&H) that confuse lab employees and hamstring effective operation of the labs... So yes Congress, please do the country a huge favor and eliminate NNSA before its incompetent and bungling managers do more damage to science and national security in this nation.
 
10:33, I might not agree with your numbers, but I agree with your premise.

Unfortunately, it's just a matter of time before something else happens. Random event no one can forsee. Ramifications will depend on when it occurs.
 
Its the quality of some of the people that work here. Look, I have a security clearance and as such I know not to remove classified information from secure areas. Bottom line is that Jessica Quintana was plain and simple STUPID. She had a clearance and should know what the rules are like the rest of us. You cannot prevent the mentally challenged individuals from doing something stupid.
 
NNSA is not only a waste of taxpayer dollars but a pit of incompetency and corruption: Linton Brooks was a shining and embarrassing example of this.
 
1/31/2007 9:35 AM sez: "You cannot prevent the mentally challenged individuals from doing something stupid."

-A comment for our times on the Bush Administration
 
Here's a DOE 'solution' to the NNSA problem. Create yet another semi-autonomous agency (let's call it New National Nuclear Agency, NNNA) and place the NNNA under the NNSA. That way, we'll have three levels of non-responsive bureaucracy watching our National Labs. I guess I shouldn't joke about it. Something like this could probably happen given our current environment.
 
POGO posted a link to Jessica's "My Space" web page several months ago. It was something to behold. She looks to be quite the loser. Unfortunately, that web page has now been removed.

I find it amazing that someone could trust a 22 year old girl like Jessica with a Q/SIGMA 15 clearance. You would think that the contractors doing background clearances would at least do a quick web search before handing out a Q clearance. And the LANL manager who signed-off on her SIGMA 15 -- I doubt he works at LANL any longer. Probably one of Mikey's "24" that he mentioned at yesterday's hearing, no doubt.
 
I thought it was DOE that gave the final word on clearances?

Don't OPM and the FBI (or their contractors) just collect the info and put the file together for DOE?
 
Poster 4:51 PM, LANL managers have to sign off on giving LANL employees SIGMA level access. I believe SIGMAs 1 thru 10 come automatically with the Q clearance.
Levels above that are dished out on an "as needed" basis.

As far as the Q goes, I'm guessing you're probably right. It takes both a "green light" from the FBI background checks and a "go" signal from DOE to get the Q.
 
Look before you all bash Jessica Quintana, please think about what the Lab has released in their remarks. I know for a fact that the Lab lies and distorts facts to make their incompetent managers look good at all levels. Yes, Jessica messed up but let's not forget all the corrupt managers that Mike and company are protecting in all this. Most likely they are equally to blame - if not moreso - and the punishment of the so-called "24" most likely means vacation during the holidays was determined to be time served for their mistakes. The fact that yet again no manager has been fired should be proof enough that something fishy is going on. In fact, I bet you that persons in the "24" even got promoted, perhaps to STB or the Contract Assurance Office...
 
Poster 7:49 pm...

Wait just a G-d damn minute! It was Jessica who illegally put those hundreds of classified docs onto her personel thumb drive. It was Jessica who then walk out of LANL with said thumb drive and placed it in her trailer. It was Jessica who was living with a Meth-Head at her trailer. And it was Jessica who told the police that one of the glass pipes with drug residue which they found in the trailer belong to her.

I'm sure the blame can also be spread to some LANL managers, but the prime candidate in this incredibly stupid F-ck Up is Jessica, herself. Stop trying to give lame excuses to protect this girl. She is not a victim. Her actions victimized the whole lab.
 
And now it's time to execute a 22-year-old girl from Pojoaque for putting old archival documents "at risk," when upper Lab management has done far more to sabotage the Lab and the nation's security. What brave men you Anonymouses be! Be sure to pick up your bag of stones for the stoning: 4 shekels a bag for large rocks, 3 shekels for medium-size gravel, 2 shekels for pebbles. (Jesus wept.)
 
Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.
 
Bravo. Maybe life in prison without appeal would be appropriate for the crime. I agree. It was one person out of 8000+, not the entire crew. Now everyone has to suffer for the blatant mistakes of a few. Bring back the days of the Rosenburgs, please and make those who break the polices and procedures accountable. If the penalty is severe enough people will think twice. It's time that LANL is brought into line.

Anonymous said...
Poster 7:49 pm...

Wait just a G-d damn minute! It was Jessica who illegally put those hundreds of classified docs onto her persoal thumb drive. It was Jessica who then walk out of LANL with said thumb drive and placed it in her trailer. It was Jessica who was living with a Meth-Head at her trailer. And it was Jessica who told the police that one of the glass pipes with drug residue which they found in the trailer belong to her.

I'm sure the blame can also be spread to some LANL managers, but the prime candidate in this incredibly stupid F-ck Up is Jessica, herself. Stop trying to give lame excuses to protect this girl. She is not a victim. Her actions victimized the whole lab.


1/31/2007 8:59 PM
 
OK, spin down now.

It doesn't matter how much you get spun up about this one way or the other, it appears by most accounts when/if JQ gets charged it will be for a misdemeanor. One year in prison max. Maybe even a reduced sentence for cooperating.

It appears as though many people need to reassess their locus of control on issues affecting LANL. Just MO of course.
 
Don't worry buddy, you will soon see the removal of all laptops, desktops, and any hard-drives or means of hooking anything up from the end user. You are going to have a monitor, keyboard and mouse with a fiber optic connection to a server that will be in a vault. Printers will be the same way and no hard copies allowed. They may be eliminated all together on the classified side. It's the thing of the future. You will never remove a document from the site. You can thnk those who have their heads up their asses and break the rules for all of this.

Anonymous said...
Red tape on ports? We advanced from that method at LANL long ago. First came the red tape, then reflective mylar tape with warnings, then, of course epoxy injections straight into the ports (USB, Firewire, SCSI). Next will be the removal of the ethernet, keyboards and monitors, no doubt. That will then be followed by the removal of all mother boards.

Funny thing is, the current bans say nothing about plugging up the RS-232 serial ports. Now, serial ports may be slow, put they can still IO data very easily. Same with the old printer parallel ports. DVI digital video ports might also be put to use for transferring binary data at very high rates.

Thing is, there is probably no way to stop all possible IO transfer scenarios unless you plug up the power cord port with epoxy, but don't give that idea to NNSA.

1/30/2007 8:21 PM
 
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