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Project on Government Oversight




British Embassy Has Questions about Latest LANL Security Breach; Internal Emails from DOE Show the U.K. Following Up on News Reports

November 1, 2006 


The Project On Government Oversight ( POGO ) has received internal emails circulated among U.S. Department of Energy officials emails that show the British Embassy is demanding answers for news reports claiming, “The secrets of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent are feared stolen” from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

The article appears in the Sunday, October 29 edition of Britain’s Daily Express and relates details of the October 17 drug raid that turned up classified materials from LANL.  The article goes on to report “. . . MI6 [British Military Intelligence] and the CIA –– both involved in the FBI-led investigation –– want to know if the woman stole the material to feed a drug habit, or if she was working for a terror group or a foreign intelligence service.”

According to the emails, officials at DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration received phone calls from Robin Pitman of the British Embassy indicating, “U.K. newspapers are reporting that U.K. nuclear weapons information may have been part of the information that was found in the drug raid…… He [Pitman] is under some pressure to provide something before the end of the day U.K. time.”

John Harvey, Director, Policy Planning Staff of the National Nuclear Security Administration; William Desmond,  Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security, and Desmond’s deputy Cheryl Stone exchanged the emails on Monday, Oct.30.

“To fix this problem isn’t rocket science – or even nuclear science,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. "As POGO recommended in 2001, the entire weapons complex should have gone media-less immediately by removing the capacity of classified computers to copy data onto disks of any kind.  There is simply no excuse for Los Alamos to continue to have this vulnerability.”

Follow the link to view the text of the emails and the Daily Express article.

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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