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Project on Government Oversight




Removal of Top Security Officials at Los Alamos

January 8, 2003 


The two top officials in charge of security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Security division leader Stan Busboom and his deputy Gene Tucker, have been stripped of their leadership positions, the lab announced late yesterday.

"The removal of the lab's security managers is long overdue and represents the type of cultural change needed at the lab," said Danielle Brian, POGO's Executive Director. "Not only is there strong evidence pointing to widespread fraud at the lab, but inadequate physical security has left nuclear materials vulnerable to terrorists."

The removals come on the heels of the resignation announcement last week of the director of the lab, John C. Browne and his deputy Joseph Salgado. Their resignations were disclosed along with a terse letter from Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to the president of the University of California indicating that the university's contract with the lab was being reconsidered.

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Since early November, anonymous individuals have leaked a series of documents to POGO and others to bring attention to serious fraud, crime, and national security breaches at Los Alamos Laboratory. After the disclosures, Lab officials fired the two investigators who had successfully been exposing credit card and purchase order fraud as well as security problems. In 2001, POGO issued a report, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security at Risk," detailing inadequate security at Los Alamos and other laboratories that store weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

"Unfortunately, the lab's heroes were fired, while the lab's director and security managers were only reassigned," Brian said. "As is often the case, top lab officials take care of their own, but attempt to silence those who look out for the taxpayers' financial interests and public safety."

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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