Top US Nuclear Lab
Loses Set Of Keys

By Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A top U.S. nuclear weapons research laboratory that boasts some of the tightest security on Earth is reviewing security procedures after it lost a set of keys, the lab said on Wednesday.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said in a statement posted on its Internet site that officials learned a set of keys was missing on April 17.
The discovery came a week after retired FBI agent William Cleveland Jr. resigned as the lab's head of counter intelligence. In response to a question, a lab spokesman said there was no connection between Cleveland's departure and the keys going missing.
He left after admitting to a long extramarital affair with Chinese-American businesswoman Katrina Leung, who has been charged with taking classified documents from the briefcase of her FBI handler, James Smith, who was also her lover. She was not charged with espionage although officials have called her a double agent.
Officials at the lab, located east of San Francisco in Livermore, California, said the missing keys would not allow outsiders access to sensitive areas because they have different types of locks, alarms, key cards and other security measures.
"The keys as a stand-alone would not have allowed undetected access into those buildings containing national security assets and classified materials," the lab said in its statement.
"Due to redundant access controls and security safeguards in place, multiple levels of authorization are required for entry into buildings containing national security assets."
The case of the missing keys comes as officials in Washington and elsewhere have already raised questions about security in the nation's leading weapons labs.
In a report last year, Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey said lax security at Department of Energy facilities such as the one at Livermore posed "an unacceptable level of risk that terrorists could successfully target these sites."
After realizing that the key were missing, lab officials replaced the locks, stepped up patrols and vowed it would not happen again.
"This is an incident I take very seriously," lab director Michael Anastasio said. "We are reviewing this aggressively and making the necessary improvements to our key handling and storage procedures.
"Due to the redundant security systems in place, our national security assets were not subject to significant risk. The information from our internal investigations, as well as the conclusions we receive from the external review team, will help us ensure this does not happen again."



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