Los Alamos Nuclear Lab
Reports NEW Possible
Security Breaches
LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - Already under scrutiny for the way it handled the disappearance of two top-secret computer hard drives, officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory have reported two more possible security breaches.
Two 10-year-old floppy disks containing classified information were reported missing Wednesday during an inventory at the nuclear weapons lab, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Saturday.
However, they were found a day later, attached to a paper report in a nearby, secured area. And no classified information was apparently compromised, lab spokesman Jim Danneskiold told the newspaper.
"Basically, we're doing an aggressive, lab-wide inventory of classified materials," Danneskiold said. "During that inventory, the two disks were not where they were supposed to be."
The two incidents aren't as serious as the missing hard drives, but Danneskiold said the disappearance of the floppy disks will be investigated by the Department of Energy, which oversees the lab.
Danneskiold would not say what kind of information the two floppy disks contained.
And because of their age, he said, "We're not even sure if there's even a computer at the lab that could still read those floppy disks."
The lab also is investigating a door left unlocked on an equipment closet where a repair person had been working in a classified area.
"Apparently this computer-repair person left, and I don't know why, but left the closet door open," Danneskiold said. "It has been reported (to federal officials), and it doesn't appear there was any security issue raised."
A grand jury has been convened to look into the two-month disappearance of the two computer hard drives from the lab's top-secret X division. The drives later resurfaced mysteriously behind a copy machine near the vault where they were first discovered missing on May 7.
The drives held information that would be needed to locate and dismantle U.S. or even foreign nuclear devices that might be used in a terrorist attack.
In addition, former Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee is in jail awaiting trial and could face a maximum of life in prison for security violations. He was arrested in December and accused of illegally copying top-secret nuclear weapons files while also working in the X Division.
The alleged copies of the files have not been found.
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