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Project on Government Oversight




Reporter Sneaks into Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab Undetected

February 25, 2003 


Congressional Hearings on Management & Security Failures at Lab
A freelance writer entered a top secret nuclear weapons facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) without being detected by security guards, according to an article published today on Wired News. The article states: "To sneak into Los Alamos National Laboratory, the world's most important nuclear research facility, all you do is step over a few strands of rusted, calf-high barbed wire. I should know. On Saturday morning, I slipped in and out of a top-secret area of the lab while guards sat, unaware, less than a hundred yards away."

The author of the article, Noah Shachtman, has been covering the Los Alamos scandals over the past few months. Shachtman's breach is the latest in a series of events exposing serious security and management failures at Los Alamos which is run by the University of California (UC). UC has been called upon to explain these failures in Congressional hearings to be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26th in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The hearings were precipitated by evidence brought forward by two Los Alamos investigators, Steve Doran and Glenn Walp, and documents leaked by whistleblowers to the Project On Government Oversight.

Steve Doran and Glenn Walp will be available to meet with the press from 10:30 am to noon on February 26th before the House hearing at the POGO offices.

In October 2001, POGO released U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security At Risk, a report co-authored with more than a dozen Department of Energy insiders and security experts concerned about lax security at our nation's nuclear weapons facilities including Los Alamos. Since the release of the report, dozens of insiders and sources at Los Alamos National Laboratory have leaked information to POGO documenting lax physical security at the facility as well as cases of fraud, illegal handling of biological agents, and missing computers and disks. POGO has worked with numerous whistleblowers including the Department of Energy's top safety engineers at Los Alamos who repeatedly raised concerns about safety violations. 

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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