Thursday, January 04, 2007
Brooks ousted as head of NNSAhttp://www.abqtrib.com/news/2007/jan/04/brooks-ousted-head-nnsa/
UPDATE: More information here: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070104/D8MEP97O2.html
WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman today dismissed the chief of the country's nuclear weapons program because of security breakdowns at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico and other facilities.
Linton Brooks will submit his resignation this month as head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the department said.
Bodman said the nuclear agency under Brooks, a former ambassador and arms control negotiator, had not adequately corrected security problems. "I have decided it is time for new leadership at the NNSA," Bodman said.
Brooks was reprimanded in June for failing to report to Bodman a security breach of computers at an agency facility in Albuquerque that resulted in the theft of files containing Social Security numbers and other personal data for 1,500 workers.
Last fall, security at Los Alamos came into question anew. During a drug raid, authorities found classified nuclear-related documents at the home of a former lab employee with top secret clearance.
That security breach was especially troubling, the department's internal watchdog said, because tens of millions of dollars had been spent to upgrade computer security at Los Alamos. The lab is part of the nuclear weapons complex that Brooks' agency oversees.
"These management and security issues can have serious implications for the security of the United States," Bodman in a statement announcing Brooks' departure.
While the agency's management "has done its best to address these concerns, I do not believe that progress in correcting these issues has been adequate," Bodman said.
"Therefore, and after careful consideration, I have decided that it is time for new leadership at the NNSA," said Bodman "Ambassador Brooks will tender his resignation to the president and depart later this month."
Bodman said an acting head of the agency will be named soon.
To me, Brooks was clearly
a) out of touch with the realities of the events that lead to Nanos' precipitous decision to shut the entire lab down in July, 2004, or (more likely)
b) adhering to the party line. Closing ranks. Attempting to protect his fellow retired Admiral, as well as his own butt.
He was clearly not
a) interested in LANL's best interests, or
b) interested in solving any of the real problems that existed at LANL, many of which still exist or are even worse than they were in 2004. Covering them up, yes. Fixing them, no.
As head of NNSA, he will not be missed by most of the people that I know.
What about re-bidding The Contract on LANL?!
DOE has "managed" to mismanage LANL for YEARS! So, how about dumping DOE?!
How about bringing back ERDA? Or the AEC?
Don't get too frothy at the mouth; they'll snag you as a "mad dog."
Now, some people, who've not been around as long as you, may not know the acronyms you're foaming: like "ERDA," and "AEC."
[OK; I think ERDA meant Energy Research and Development Administration (or Agency), and AEC meant Atomic Energy Commissariat--heh, heh, just a little Cold War Soviet humor there.]
--Pat, the not-so-mad Dog
Those in powerful decision making positions don't have a clue.
Some members of Congress questioned whether Brooks' departure is enough to make the changes that are needed.
"It will take more than a new boss to fix the problems, which are far more systemic and pervasive in nature," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is considering hearings on DOE security.
Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., said she also plans a hearing by her House Armed Services subcommittee on "the important policy and structural changes" planned to improve the nuclear agency. Her aides said she believes the issue is one that goes beyond Brooks, whom she praised.
Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, the ranking Republican on both the Senate Energy Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee on NNSA spending, said Bodman "has sent a clear message" that improvements are needed at the agency.
A number of lawmakers as well as private watchdog groups have maintained that Brooks had not responded forcefully enough to the Los Alamos security breakdowns.
"His departure is long overdue," Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said Thursday. He had called for Brooks' immediate firing last summer when the theft involving information on the 1,500 employees came to light.
In November, the Project on Government Oversight, a private watchdog group, urged that Brooks be fired, saying he had been slow in implementing a two-year-old policy to do away with removable storage devices in weapons-related computers.
I would suggest LANL workers all bend over and take a deep breath, because some nasty medicine is likely to be delivered to Los Alamos' back doorstep courtesy of the the many enemies LANL has managed to create in Washington.
You mention "the the many enemies LANL has managed to create in Washington." These include the Bush crime family, the Regent Cardinal Cheney, and the Dauphin George? Not to mention the courtiers of the société de Bechtel ...
--Pat, le chien
DOE and NNSA are no slouches when it comes to projecting an image of incompetence. In fact, they could both give LANL a run for their money in that regard.
In Washington, DOE is the rock-bottom-of-the-barrel when it come to department-level government organizations.
Putting another way: LANL, DOE, and NNSA deserve each other.
It's nothing that a little Prozac won't help make better, though. I've heard that prescriptions for Prozac are at all time highs in Los Alamos these days. A large number of the staff members who work in my area now seem to be drinking this legal Kool-Aid. Not too hard to figure out why. Every time I think morale has gone as low as it can go, it manages to sink just a little bit lower.
The sad thing is that the people at
LANL are not to blame. It is the management at LANL, NNSA, DOE and congress. Everytime you blame the
workers nothing will be fixed because they are not the problem.