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Project on Government Oversight




Thumbs Up to Secretary Abraham's Decision to Halt Classified Removable Media Operations in Nuclear Weapons Complex

July 23, 2004 


Today, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Spencer Abraham ordered a complete stand down of classified operations using removable media throughout the nuclear weapons complex. This comes in the wake of the most recent security lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory - including the loss of classified disks, and lab personnel sending classified emails over an unsecured network.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), lauded Abraham's decision. "We always believed poor cyber security was a system-wide problem," Brian said. "We knew the recurring breaches at Los Alamos were not isolated incidents, but symptomatic of a wider security issue in the complex."

For several years, POGO has advocated a "media-less" computer system within the nuclear labs. A significant threat to the complex is an insider downloading classified information onto removable media and walking out the door. Secretary Abraham's announcement is an important step in moving to an accountable system. Media-less reforms could be accomplished in a matter of months.

"Until the problems are fixed, the labs are more of a homeland security liability than an asset. National security has suffered because of nuclear weapons complex personnel stonewalling important security reforms. These changes need to happen immediately so our nuclear secrets aren't compromised," Brian said.

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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