Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 

Somethin's Comin', Somethin' Bad ...

Hang on to your sox, folks: Life at the 'Top' (or very near to it) of Los Alamos National Security's Lab is about to get a 'little' bumpy. Rumors abound that the security issues at LANL and NNSA are far from over yet. In fact, they may have only just started to ramp up, well beyond a 'little' person, who took old classified stuff home to work on overtime, and who may have on occasion smoked some dope at her home on the weekends. According to George Lobsenz in his January 8th issue of Energy Daily, the heads have not yet stopped rolling over the latest security incidents. Possibly next to go to the chopping block: Edwin Wilmot, head of the Los Alamos NNSA Site Office.

But wait, there's a whole hell-of-a-lot more: rumors of yet another security breach: a whopper! Not just about the 'little' people being randomly 'screwtinized.' Here's a hint: Anybody remember former CIA Director John M. Deutch? Taking 'stuff' (classified--SERIOUS classified) home to work on, at his 'leisure,' while sitting in his easy chair, with his slippers on, smoking his pipe?

Stay tuned, this could be the big one. (Oops. I just piddled all over the Master's slipper.)

--Pat, The Dog

Comments:
Pat,

Are you honestly suggesting that someone high up at NNSA, or LANL was *stupid* enough to put classified material on a personal computer?

After the meth lab business? After the NNSA lost that classified computer material and, oops, forgot to report it?

You've got to be kidding. You've just got to be kidding.
 
Here's what Deutch did:

http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2000/02/03/cia/index.html
 
"Knowing him, and I do," the official added, "I would guess his having that stuff on his own computer was ... typical. He thought he was above all of the petty rules which apply to mere mortals."

Confronted with the alleged security lapse, Deutch immediately erased the documents from his home computer, according to reports, and signed up as an unpaid consultant to the CIA so that he'd officially be permitted access to information.

-----

So, another "elite" SOB bites the dust, but doesn't serve 9 months in solitary confinement like Wen Ho Lee. What will happen to the "senior LANL official," do you think?

You want my guess? No? I'll give it to you anyway: nada, baby.

Signed,
-Winner of the Medal of "Freedom"
 
Dear Pat: I wonder if you could post this note one day soon.

About a month ago, the Los Alamos Monitor published a short announcement that John Mitchell, number two for LANS and the chief representative of Bechtel partner, was to retire at the end of the year. The reason for this retirement, some six month into the new contract, relationship, was to “spend more time with his family.” While this is of course a commendable motive, public statement to this effect, often mask other more pertinent reasons.

Does anyone coming to this Dog House know if there is a “back story” here?
Was there a golden parachute agreement?
Has a replacement been announced?

Taken in the context of the resignations in Washington, this represents another element of continuing instability.

Watching from the West.
 
And, my response to "Watching from the West" is:
I wonder is anyone is "watching from the East"?
Congressman Dingle?
 
The way D'Agostino and Bodman and the rest of that corrupt good old by club seem to operate, they'll give the son of a bitch a huge fucking pay raise, a big fat separation bonus, and then they'll find a nice cushy position for him at DTRA, where he and Nanos can compare the size of their golden parachutes.

Actually, stopping to think about it: it's pretty obvious who it must be: Mr. Family Man. Who wants to bet? He was certainly arrogant and ignorant enough to believe he was above the rules. Those are just for the little people.
 
Mitchell resigned on December 11. What did the good old boys think, that they could cover it up? With such a lame explanation for why he was leaving just six months after his parent company won the LANL contract? Cripes! DOE, NNSA, Bechtel, and LANL management must all be as dumb as I think they are.

Maybe dumber.
 
Can't wait to hear what kind of spin that lying bastard Kevin Roark trys to put on this one.
 
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Consolidation was the Bechtel story when they bid with BWXT at Pantex and Y-12. Don’t forget, John Mitchell was the guy who came in after LM at Y-12 and implemented a “scorched earth policy” there. How has that whole “integration” thing worked out for them? They did great at INEEL and Yucca Mountain! They are the great Satan.
 
1/10/2007 6:24 PM:

I'll give you a preview of Kevin Roark's "version" of events. From a CBS News article dated 12/11/2006 on

http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/topstories_story_345213534.html

Los Alamos spokesman Kevin Roark said, however, that "John Mitchell's retirement has absolutely no connection to any security issues at the Laboratory."
 
Well, that confirms it: It was Mitchell.
 
Translation: "The security issue was at his home on his computer."?
 
If the bloggers are correct regarding a security incident involving a highly place individual, and this is in-fact true,and with the Democrats just biting at the bit, especially John Dingell, (Chairman of the Energy and Commerce)to come after LANL, then I would ask,"Can LANL really survive as a National Lab working with classified information"?
 
Most people at LANL appear to be in deep denial about the pivotal events that have taken place over just the last few months. Brooks lost his job over it. Wilmot will be next. And there is something extremely fishy about John Mitchell's quick exit as LANL Deputy Director after only six months on the job.

Congressional investigations will start up very soon. LANL is about to be pounded into the ground. Do you understand this? LANL is about to be pulverized! There are no champions left in Congress on either the Democratic or Republican side. St. Pete has lost his power and Bingamin seems very luck-warm about supporting Los Alamos. The political enemies of LANL are now coming into powerful positions and the long knives are about to come out.

LANL has had almost 7 continuous years of trouble, and each year it just keeps getting worse. Soon enough, the only people left at LANL will the dregs who are incapable of finding anything better and will put up with almost anything to keep their jobs. Do you really want to work in such a de-moralized environment? It's time to find a much happier and saner place to work. SNL, ORNL, PNL, Mitre, SAIC, etc. There are plenty of other labs around this country that would dearly love to have LANL's smart scientists on their staff.

Get your resumes polished and start your search engines. LANL, the "Titantic", is about to go under and take a bunch of the remaining workers down with it. You may only have a short time left to get into a life boat.
 
Ok, let's assume for the moment that the rumor is true, i.e. Jon Mitchell, #2 top manager at LANL, was fired for putting classified material on his own, personal computer. What does it mean for LANL?

Let's look at what we know already, in no particular order:

1. Mitchell was a long-time Bechtel employee.
2. Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman has announced that he plans to hold hearings “within the month” on security problems at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
3. Dingell was no fan of Linton Brooks.
4. The number two manager of LANL has clearly demonstrated that his parent company, Bechtel, has no idea how to run a national laboratory.
5. LANL has a well-earned bad reputation, due primarily to inept management.
6. DOE and NNSA are pretty inept too.

What are the possible outcomes of this latest screw-up? Again, in no particular order:

1. Mitchell is given a large golden parachute and shuffled off to a nice, cushy position in DTRA (sound familiar?)
2. Congress recommends yanking LANS, LLC's contract to run LANL and finds someone else to run the place.
3. Anastasio gets fired.
4. Congress recommends shutting LANL down.
5. D'Agostino gets fired.
6. Bodman gets fired.
7. Everybody involved agrees to just cover the whole thing up and pretend nothing happened.

Food for thought.
 
I think it is now clear that LANL is going to be shut down, very soon. They have run out of options.
 
1/11/2007 9:07 AM,

There's too much money involved. Bechtel will throw bundles of it at Congress to persuade them to let their company keep running LANL. Bechel's influence machine will convince everybody to just agree to try and cover it up.

John Duetch didn't even get a wrist slap when he put 17,000 classified documents on his home computer, although the likely reason for that is that he had some good incriminating stuff on many of the Washington power elite. Still, Bechtel, DOE, and NNSA would all love to see this high-level screw-up just go away. I predict that all the good ol' boys will band together and stand by the claim that John Mitchell retired (just 6 months after Bechtel & friends won the LANL contract) to "spend more time with his family".
 
"Bechtel will throw bundles of it at Congress to persuade them to let their company keep running LANL." - Poster 1/11/2007 9:07 AM

No. Bechtel is a well known GOP sweetheart, not a Dem sweetheart. And the Dems now control both sides of Congress. They plan to go after the KBRs and Bechtels of the world (both of which now run things at LANL. It's a two-fer!).

Just the fact that a GOP-friendly entity runs LANL will be reason enough for the Dems to viciously attack LANL at the hearings. And they don't have to order a LANL shutdown. They just have to cut off the oxygen supply by slowly starving LANL of funds, which is already happening.

There is no easy way for Bechtel to 'buy' their way out of this mess, and I doubt they would even want to try at this point.
 
I agree, all involved will strive to cover the episode up. Nanos succeeded in burying the fact that his "missing" disks never even existed for several months, until the FBI report was released. By that time, the public's attention had been refocused elsewhere. I fully expect this current crop of bozos to use the same approach.

All Dingle wants is to get his name in the headlines by beating up on LANL, and maybe NNSA. The subcommittee hearings will be all for show. Do any of you remember Nanos' subcommittee hearings? They were a whitewash.

Face it, when the big boys break the rules, the other big boys cover for them. That's how it works.
 
This just in from the "beatings will continue until morale improves" department. Several new policies are in review or have been issued. I swear I am not making these up.

In order to recruit the best possible science and engineering staff: The new Meals policy prohibits current staff from getting reimbursed if they take an interviewee out to dinner. (Top managers can no doubt absorb these costs out of their bonuses).

In order to recruit and retain the best new talent: The new Probationary Period policy provides a two-year window in which new hire TSMs can be fired if their "capabilities, attitude, conduct..." turns out to not be a good fit for LANS. (One year for non-TSM's, because after all they are the ones generating all of the new revenue that's going to keep LANL afloat??). Director can waive this probationary period for his buddies, of course.

And finally, to brighten everyone's day and promote relaxation and a positive attitude at work, the new Animals policy: No dogs on LANL property (including leased property - which is about half the county). No domestic animals of any kind in your office (including those cute beta fish that seem to thrive on neglect?) - and rodents are allowed as long as they are not in a cage. No feeding the wildlife (including hummingbird feeders?), and no unattended dogs in parked cars. It's not clear if really fresh sushi is allowed for lunch under this policy.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned...
 
One More Time
If what we hear regarding the latest security breach is correct, the folkes in Washington (House Energy & Commerece)are already planning to expose all of LANL's short-comings in front of those with the power of the purse. If a highly placed individual who in the past has sang the pary line(quite loudly I might add) regarding the importance of maintaing proper security at LANL, has been found to have committed atrossities, with regard to security, then, the real question is:Does LANL have a future as a National Lab dealing with classified data, so far the answer is no. How many time have you heard someone say "one more time" just one more time and they (whomever they is) will shut down the lab? Well they won't shut down the lab, but they can certianly slow and reduce the amount of funding for the lab, which means less money, less money means less employees, less employees translates into less work, lesswork translates into less of everthing. And the days of oh "darn" another security incident...well.. we need more money to fix this prolem, no more funding to fix problems that don't exsist. No more "ear-marks" Domenici's favorite slush fund for the Lab when things went wrong, oh dear, maybe this is the "one more time"...duh.. One more time: How in the hell could someone in a high level job, knowing fully well what we are up against, (regarding security) do somthing dumb right in front of God and everybody else. Is their somthing in the aquifer, up here or what, this goes well beyond stuipd.....
 
When are we going to know who it is and what s/he did?
 
"When are we going to know who it is and what s/he did?"

As a previous comment noted, Nanos was able to bury the actual facts of the episode of the non-missing disks which precipitated the 2004 shutdown for months. The only reason the public ever learned that there hadn't actually been any missing disks was that the FBI report was finally released.

On the other hand, it could well be that Congressman Dingell will make a dramatic announcement identifying the perp and his crime when he initiates his subcommittee hearings later this month. Whether or not we all learn if it was Mitchell, and what he did will depend on whether or not the good old boys choose to close ranks, as they did with Nanos.

I'm pretty smart, for a dog. Aren't I? But then I do have Border Collie in my lineage.
 
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