Thursday, March 01, 2007


Sandia Coverup

[Imagine this happening at Los Alamos; imagine the Congressional uproar!]

Sandia Says Guard Covered Up Shooting

By John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer, Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Sandia National Laboratories guard accidentally shot a hole in an observation post door last year, then covered up the incident, a Sandia investigation has found.

The investigation also found someone had periodically disabled the alarm on the door in question, allowing them to go in and out without setting off the alarm.

Sandia, headquartered at Kirtland Air Force Base, designs and maintains U.S. nuclear weapons. Sandia has a paramilitary force of approximately 120 guards protecting its classified information and nuclear materials.

The investigation failed to finger the culprit, but in the process Sandia management found problems in its guard force operations and made some changes, said Sandia spokesman Rod Geer.

Guards no longer work 12-hour shifts by themselves at remote Sandia sites such as the one where the incident happened, Geer said.

The shooting happened in an office building adjacent to Sandia's heavily guarded nuclear reactor complex, the primary Sandia site where nuclear materials are stored. The door was on an upstairs room used by guards as an observation post. It opened onto an exterior roof area, according to Geer.

A guard found the bullet hole the afternoon of Oct. 24, according to a National Nuclear Security Administration report on the incident.

The hole had gone undetected for some time because the holes had been covered— with a magnetized sign affixed to the inside of the metal door and a magnetized coat hook on the outside, according to Geer.

The incident was discovered when a guard on routine rounds thought the coat hook seemed out of place on an exterior building door, Geer said.

The investigation concluded the hole was made by a .40-caliber handgun— the type carried by Sandia guards. Investigators searched but were unable to find the bullet, Geer said.

The room gives guards a view of the adjacent nuclear reactor area, according to Geer.

The building, Sandia Building 6585, contains office space used by a variety of Sandia research groups. Classified work is not normally done there, but one floor of the building is cleared for classified work, Geer said.

In addition to investigating the shooting, the incident "prompted a review of the entire security system," Geer said.

The investigation found that an alarm on the door in question had routinely been set in what Geer called "access mode," allowing the door to be opened without setting off an alarm.

Among changes that resulted from the review of Sandia security, according to Geer, is an increase in the number of managers so each has a smaller area of responsibility on which to focus. Also, more formal written reports are required at the beginning and end of shifts.

And why didn't this story get ANY press? A short UPI blurb which plays in no newspapers (according to GoogleNews).

Sandia Loses Suit
John Fleck -- February 14, 2007

A state court jury slapped a $4 million judgment on Sandia National Laboratories yesterday for its dismissal of Shawn Carpenter, who had done computer security for the lab:
A jury delivered a strong— and expensive— message to Sandia National Laboratories on Tuesday, awarding more than $4 million to a cybersecurity analyst who was fired after going “over the fence” to the FBI with information about national security breaches.
The 13-person state district court jury determined that Sandia’s handling of Shawn Carpenter’s termination was “malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, fraudulent or in bad faith.”
“If they (Sandia) have an interest in protecting us, they certainly didn’t show it with the way they handled Shawn,” said juror Ed Dzienis, a television editor.
"And why didn't this story get ANY press?"

Because NNSA/DOE don't want to shut down Sandia.

Here's some press on the Carpenter case for you to add to the blog:

ABC News: Jury Slaps Defense Giant for Neglecting National Security

TIME MAGAZINE, February 14, 2007
A Security Analyst Wins Big in Court,8599,1589735,00.html

ComputerWorld, February 14, 2007

Security Analyst Wins $4.3M in Suit Against Sandia Labs

Computerworld: Q&A: Reverse hacker describes ordeal

Federal Computer Weekly, February 13, 2007: Sandia Backhacker Wins $4.3 Million Judgment Against Sandia Labs

Network World, February 16, 2007: High Expectations and Hacking

The Register – Employee Fired for Probing Bad Guys Wins $4.7M
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