Auditors rip Los Alamos over lax PC controls

The Energy Department's inspector general has criticized Los Alamos National Laboratory, which recently suspended classified work after a security flap, for weak internal controls over classified and unclassified notebook computers.

The problems expose the computers and classified data on them to loss or theft, the IG said in a new report.

Los Alamos officials called a halt to classified work at the lab last month after they discovered that portable classified data storage units had gone missing (GCN story). Following last month's discovery of the security breaches, Los Alamos' leadership issued stern warnings to the staff, announced plans for comprehensive retraining on security procedures and began a wall-to-wall inventory of classified data.

Auditors found:

  • Laboratory officials had failed to enter several classified computers into the organization's property inventory and failed to assign some notebooks a property number

  • Workers had not notified the lab's Security Inquiries Office as required about a missing component of a notebook accredited for classified use

  • The laboratory's listing of classified desktops and notebooks was neither complete nor accurate.

  • The auditors recommended that Los Alamos officials enforce and follow their own property control and inventory procedures, investigate cases of missing classified equipment and keep track of required paperwork.

    Los Alamos officials agreed with the report's conclusions and said they would submit a corrective action plan.


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