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Project on Government Oversight

Los Alamos National Laboratory

There is serious mismanagement at LANL, including inadequate physical security, unauthorized shipments of anthrax, missing computers and disks, and firing whistleblowers who are trying to expose corruption.

POGO Files 

Related Resources (government documents and letters)

POGO in the News

POGO Files

Not Another Dime
July 8, 2008

POGO's Statement Regarding DOE's Movement of Los Alamos Nuclear Materials
April 1, 2004

Late yesterday, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will move special nuclear materials from TA-18 at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) beginning in September of this year.

Because it is located at the bottom of a canyon, it is virtually impossible to properly defend nuclear materials at TA-18. Although former DOE Secretary Bill Richardson had ordered these materials moved by 2004, the process had stalled.

The Project On Government Oversight's (POGO) Executive Director Danielle Brian stated, "POGO applauds Secretary Spencer Abraham for jump-starting this process and cutting through the bureaucracy. Moving materials out of vulnerable sites is a significant step toward enhanced homeland security."

Ms. Brian added, "This move is a big win-win for DOE. It will not only significantly increase national security, but will also save taxpayer's about $30 million dollars a year." POGO encourages DOE to move all of the weapons grade nuclear materials out of TA-18 by the end of the 18 month campaign.

In October 2001, POGO released its report, U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security At Risk which recommended moving weapons grade nuclear materials out of TA-18 as well as several other steps to improve security in the nation's nuclear weapons complex. In January 2004, Ms. Brian and POGO's Senior Investigator Peter Stockton met with Secretary Abraham to discuss TA-18 as well as recommendations to increase security at other sites in the nuclear weapons complex.

Los Alamos Myths and Facts
September 12, 2003

Leaked Document: Mishandling Lost and Stolen Computers at Los Alamos
November 19, 2002

New documents show serious problems in the handling of lost and stolen computers and other property at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  

POGO ran this ad
February 10, 2002



Related Resources

Response Letter to POGO from NNSA Administrator D'Agostino regarding LANL
Thomas P. D'Agostino, Administrator, Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
April 27, 2010 

Letter from Rep. Joe Barton and Rep. Greg Walden regarding missing computers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce
March 27, 2009 

Long-Term Strategies Needed to Improve Security and Management Oversight
, Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report GAO-08-694
June 30, 2008 

NNSA Responds to POGO letter to DOE requesting a stop work order for the CMRR at Los Alamos due to construction concerns
Robert L. Smolen, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs, Department of Energy
December 31, 2007 

Response Letter from DOE Secretary Bodman
Samuel W. Bodman, Department of Energy
June 15, 2007 

Selected Controls over Classified Information at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Energy
November 1, 2006 

Response to POGO letter from DOE regarding inadequate safety oversight
Glenn S. Podonsky, Department of Energy
September 1, 2006 

Department of Energy Response to Freedom of Information Act Request
William S. Maharay, Deputy IG for Audit Services, Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General
June 30, 2006 

Senator Pete Domenici's "Open Letter to Los Alamos"
Senator Pete V. Domenici (R-NM),
July 22, 2004 

Nuclear weapons complex official Everett Beckner confirms intent to stonewall full move of all nuclear materials from dangerous Los Alamos
Everet Beckner, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs, Department Of Energy
May 12, 2004 

University of California internal investigation memo
John F. Lundberg and Bruce Herr, University of California, Office of the General Counsel
June 25, 2003 

Los Alamos whistleblowers testify about rampant corruption
, House Energy and Commerce Committee
February 26, 2003 

Joint Statement By Glenn A. Walp, Steven L. Doran and Senior Officials Of The University Of California
, University of California, Office of the President
January 17, 2003 

Special Inquiry: Operations at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Energy
January 1, 2003 

Special Inquiry: Operations at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Report DOE/IG-0584, Department of Energy Inspector General's Office
January 1, 2003 

Energy Secretary Abraham's letter to the President of the University of California, which runs Los Alamos
Spencer Abraham, Secretary, Department of Energy
December 24, 2002 

Letter from University of California President Richard C. Atkinson to Dr. John Browne
Richard C. Atkinson, University of California President,
December 6, 2002 


POGO in the News

Starving the Real Beast, Darwin Bond-GrahamCounterPunch, February 14, 2012 

Los Alamos Bracing For Big Cut To CMRR-NF In FY2013 Budget Request, Todd JacobsonLos Alamos Study Group & Monitor, January 20, 2012 

Fire continues to threaten nuclear lab, With Lisa, June 28, 2011 

Gun Blasts Bunker At LANL; Shock Physics Experiment Yields Surprise Results, By Phil ParkerAlbuquerque Journal Northern Bureau, December 24, 2009 

Nuclear Lab Accidentally Blows Up Building, By Rachel MorrisMother Jones, December 23, 2009 

Study finds quake risk at Los Alamos, By Ralph VartabedianThe Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2009 

POGO Questions Kudos On NIF, By Todd JacobsonNuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, May 18, 2009 

Chu Warned On Plutonium Stored At Los Alamos, By George LobsenzDefense Daily, May 6, 2009 

Concerns over lab’s plutonium project in memo, By Roger SnodgrassLos Alamos Monitor, May 1, 2009 

Barton criticizes NNSA, Los Alamos lab about stolen and missing computers, By Susan Montoya BryanAssociated Press, March 27, 2009 

Los Alamos' security flaws exposed, By Ralph VartabedianLos Angeles Times, March 26, 2009 

Energy scrutinizes Los Alamos bookkeeping problems, By Katherine McIntire PeterGovernment Executive, March 3, 2009 

New Security Lapse at Los Alamos Triggers Angry Response From Energy Department, By Greg WebbGlobal Security Newswire, February 27, 2009 

Memo questions Los Alamos lab's control of plutonium, By Katherine McIntre PetersGovernment Executive, February 27, 2009 

LANL reports 'material control' errors, By Sue VorenbergThe New Mexican, February 26, 2009 

Los Alamos lab reports unreconciled inventory; says nothing missing, Associated PressThe Denver Post, February 26, 2009 

Los Alamos computer thefts prompt DOE security check at nuclear lab, By Jaikumar VijayanComputerworld, February 23, 2009 

Government Hack Attacks Prompt Scrutiny, By Marisa TaylorWall Street Journal Online's Digits blog, February 16, 2009 

Los Alamos Security Woes Worsen, Again, By Robert O’Harrow, Jr.Washington Post/Government Inc., February 12, 2009 

69 computers missing at LANL, By Matthew ReichbachNew Mexico Independent, February 12, 2009 

Report Faults LANL Bosses, By Raam Wong Albuquerque Journal, February 12, 2009 

69 computers lost at weapons lab, Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2009 

67 computers missing from nuclear weapons lab, By Joan LowyAssociated Press, February 11, 2009 

More Security Problems Turn Up At Los Alamos, By Bob O’HarrowWashington Post, Government Inc. Blog, February 2, 2009 

Security, Safety Incidents Rear Up At Los Alamos, By George LobsenzThe Energy Daily, January 30, 2009 

LANL Warns Of Possible Chemical Contamination, By Sue VorenbergThe Santa Fe New Mexican, January 29, 2009 

Los Alamos lab disputes group's contention lost, stolen equipment constitutes security breach, By Sue Major HolmesAssociated Press, January 29, 2009 

LANL Probes Missing Off-Site Computers, By Raam WongAlbuquerque Journal, January 29, 2009 

DoE Raps Nuke Lab Operators On Errant Classified E-Mails, By George LobsenzDefense Daily, June 13, 2008 

Gov.'s Diversity Class Riles Lab Workers, By David RoybalAlbuquerque Journal, April 20, 2008 

Quality of Nuclear Devices Questioned, By H. Josef Hebert Associated Press, January 20, 2008 

The True Story: Two U.S. Nuclear Labs "Hacked", By Jason MickDaily Tech, December 8, 2007 

Hackers Launch Major Attack on US Military Labs, By John E. DunnTechworld , December 7, 2007 

LANL Building Project Faulted ; Oversight Group: Lab Rushed Work, By Raam WongAlbuquerque Journal, December 5, 2007 

Weaknesses Found at LANL; Report Points To Security Problems, by Raam WongAlbuquerque Journal, September 7, 2007 

Another Classified Data Incident At Los Alamos–POGO, by George LobsenzThe Energy Daily, August 7, 2007 

LANL faces huge fine in security breach, by Andy LendermanSanta Fe New Mexican, July 13, 2007 

What's Next, LANL Plans on MySpace?, EditorialAlbuquerque Journal, June 16, 2007 

Anger Over Nuclear Secrets Leak, by Adam ZagorinTime Magazine, June 14, 2007 

A Breach in Nuclear Security, by Adam ZagorinTime Magazine, April 19, 2007 

Nuclear security workers anonymously ask Congress for probe, by Darren, March 22, 2007 

Nuke Lab Workers' SOS to Congress, by Noah ShachtmanWired Blogs: Danger Room, March 21, 2007 

UC exempt from paying $1.1 million for LANL violations, by Andy LendermanSanta Fe New Mexican, February 27, 2007 

Accident Report Cites Lax Safety; 2 Nearly Killed On Job at LANL, by John ArnoldAlbuquerque Journal, February 24, 2007 

Los Alamos begins drug testing, by Ralph VartabedianLos Angeles Times, January 31, 2007 

Congress scrutinizes Los Alamos security, by Jennifer Talhelm, Associated PressCBS News, January 30, 2007 

Anastasio to testify, by Roger SnodgrassLos Alamos Monitor, January 27, 2007 

U.S. nuclear labs working on weapons safeguards, by Ralph VartabedianThe Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2006 

Report rips lab security, by Andy LendermanThe Santa Fe New Mexican, November 29, 2006 

Drug raid leads to classified UC data find, by Supriya SatyaUCSD Guardian, November 9, 2006 

Outsourcing secrets, with Mike CauseyFederal News Radio, November 8, 2006 

Lab: Classified files not "most sensitive", by Andy LendermanThe Santa Fe New Mexican, November 4, 2006 

Los Alamos nuclear documents found in home, United Press International, November 3, 2006 

Leak adds fuel to security breach fire, by Roger Snodgrass and Carol A. ClarkLos Alamos Monitor, November 3, 2006 

Claim: Drugs leak exposed Brit secrets, United Press International, November 1, 2006 

Lab boss confirms security breach; LANL director announces new safeguards, by Raam Wong and John ArnoldAlbuquerque Journal, October 28, 2006 

Meth addict says he knows nothing about classified documents found in mobile home, by Deborah Baker, Associated PressThe Washington Post, October 27, 2006 

Another possible data security breach at Los Alamos, by Stephen LoseyFederal Times, October 26, 2006 

Los Alamos secrets are found in drug factory, by Catherine PhilpThe Times, October 26, 2006 

FBI eyes contractor in Los Alamos leak, by Jerry SeperWashington Times, October 26, 2006 

Energy probes another data loss, by Michael, October 26, 2006 

Los Alamos confirms data breach, by Ralph VartabedianLos Angeles Times, October 26, 2006 

US DOE probing how Los Alamos documents went missing, by Maya Jackson RandallDow Jones Newswires, October 25, 2006 

Another breach at Los Alamos, Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2006 

Local meth case turns into counterintelligence investigation, by Jason Ryan and Pierre ThomasABC News, October 25, 2006 

Drug raid yields Los Alamos documents, by Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated PressThe Washington Post, October 25, 2006 

N.M. may be new hub of nukes; candidates for center include Los Alamos, by John FleckAlbuquerque Journal, October 20, 2006 

LANL safety violations could cost UC $1.1M; documents detail series of lapses, by John ArnoldAlbuquerque Journal, September 13, 2006 

Los Alamos lab chief leaves no doubt who's in charge, By Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science WriterSan Francisco Chronicle, December 23, 2005 

Los Alamos Management Named; University of California Keeps Contract at N.M. Nuclear Lab, By Rick WeissThe Washington Post, December 22, 2005 

Error at lab spreads nuclear material, By Keay DavidsonSan Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2005 

Power and Money in Los Alamos Contract, By Rebecca TrounsonLos Angeles Times, July 17, 2005 

Nanos To Step Down at LANL , By Heather Clark, Associated PressAlbuquerque Journal, May 16, 2005 

The Nation; Head of Troubled Los Alamos Lab Resigns, By Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Hong Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2005 

National Weapons Lab Amid Another Financial Scandal, With Bob SchiefferCBS News, March 20, 2005 

Los Alamos security shutdown costly; government picks up tab, By H. Josef HebertAssociated Press, March 18, 2005 

2 LANL Whistle-Blowers Sue UC, By Adam RankinAlbuquerque Journal, March 4, 2005 

A Slew of Safety, Security Weaknesses Found at Los Alamos, By Rebecca Trounson and Ralph VartabedianLos Angeles Times, January 29, 2005 

UC docked for lapses at nuke lab; U.S. slashes school's fee, says 'missing' disks never existed, By Keay DavidsonSan Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 2005 

Watchdog group calls for tougher Los Alamos performance standards, By David McGlincheyGovernment Executive, January 12, 2005 

Help Sought for Lab Whistle-Blowers, By Adam RankinAlbuquerque Journal, October 27, 2004 

Nuclear Lab's Missing Disks May Not Exist , By Sandra Blakeslee The New York Times, August 12, 2004 

Pity Los Alamos' Whistle-Blowers, op-ed by POGO's Danielle Brian and Peter StocktonLos Angeles Times, August 12, 2004 

UC alone didn't ruin Los Alamos, op-ed by POGO's Nick SchwellenbachThe Daily Texan, August 10, 2004 

UC Should Quit Los Alamos, Los Angeles Times Editorial, August 2, 2004 

Classified E-Mail Left Nuclear Lab, By Ralph VartabedianLos Angeles Times, July 18, 2004 

Protecting the Nation's Nuclear Materials, by David KestenbaumNational Public Radio (NPR), February 26, 2004 

Science and Security, With Spencer MichelsNewsHour with Jim Lehrer, August 25, 2003 

Arms Official Brushes Off A Complaint About Audit, Matthew L. WaldNew York Times, July 5, 2003 

Los Alamos can't find two vials of plutonium, By Zachary CoileSan Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 2003 

Los Alamos loses plutonium, By Michael KillianChicago Tribune, June 19, 2003 

Lab Scandal Undermines Nuclear Credibility, By Notra Trulock, III Accuracy In Media, March 5, 2003 

Nuke Lab Can't Keep Snoops Out, By Noah, February 25, 2003 

Nuclear Lab Safety Official Is Suspended, By Ralph Vartabedian and Rebecca TrounsonThe Los Angeles Times, January 29, 2003 

Nuke Lab Strips Top Cops' Badges, By Noah ShachtmanWired News, January 8, 2003 

Los Alamos Lab Officials Quit, By Christopher JoyceNational Public Radio (NPR), January 3, 2003