Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wow. Los Alamos National Labs (run by the University of California) had yet another apparent breach of national security. A drug raid on a Los Alamos scientist's home in New Mexico turned up what appeared to be classified documents taken from the nuclear weapons lab. This is, of course, after Wen Ho Lee, and after an episode of missing classified disks that the lab later said "never existed."

As always, draw your own conclusions.

It took a while, but it eventually became clear how this episode fits into the "cut any corner to bill more or pay less" pattern that seems to have emerged from the events documented below. In most of the other posts below this one, the University of California cut corners, and people died (32 in the UC Irvine and UC San Deigo liver transplant non-program) or were left to die in agony but didn't actually die (an unknown number, but approx. 200 in that same program) or ... well, read the posts below. In this post, the University of California cut corners, and national security was compromised (again).

The person who took classified documents home was, it turns out, a Lab archivist. The archivists were supposed to work in pairs, so that each could keep an eye on each other, and so that each would be less likely to take classified documents. The University actually did hire two archivists, and presumably billed the DOE (on whose behalf the University runs the labs) for the two archivists.

The labs then assigned the two archivists to different parts of the labs. This completely negated the point of having archivists work in pairs in the first place. Well, it negated the national-security reason for having archivists work in pairs, anyway. The justification for billing for two archivists probably remained.

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