JUNE 15, 2007
The U.S. government’s failure to adequately protect a major nuclear weapons laboratory with a long history of serious security breaches has led to yet another major violation in which highly classified information was compromised.
Located in northern New Mexico, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has been plagued by an array of shameful security lapses in the last decade yet authorities and lawmakers have failed to correct the serious problem.
The latest incident involves lab officials sending top-secret data relating to nuclear weapons via an open electronic mail network. The highly classified information included details of the actual characteristics of nuclear material used in weapons.
Just months ago New Mexico police accidentally stumbled upon Los Alamos classified information in a drug dealer’s mobile home during a drug bust. The 1,500 highly classified nuclear weapons designs were stashed in a trailer park near the lab along with paraphernalia to manufacture methamphetamine.
Other renowned lapses include missing data storage devices and a Chinese communist scientist (Wen Ho Lee) who stole nuclear secrets from the facility in 1999 but was not prosecuted by the Clinton Justice Department because then Attorney General Janet Reno claimed the accusations were racist.
The lab’s problems have been so well documented that the Department of Energy labeled it a “systematic management failure.” Despite the problems, however, the government renewed the multi million-dollar contract of the practically incompetent group that for decades has managed the facility – the University of California.
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