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Archive for Friday, August 20, 2004

More U.S. nuclear data found missing

August 20, 2004

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— An inventory has found another case of missing data involving nuclear weapons, this time at the Energy Department's regional office in Albuquerque, N.M., the department disclosed Thursday.

The Energy Department said that an "accounting discrepancy" involving three copies of a "controlled removable electronic media," or CREM, was found at the regional office as part of the nationwide inventory of such devices.

The inventory was ordered a month ago after two CREM data devices were reported missing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, also in New Mexico. The Albuquerque facility, part of the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, coordinates activities with the Los Alamos weapons lab.

Bryan Wilkes, an NNSA spokesman, said that the inventory discovered three copies of a single CREM unaccounted for. He declined to elaborate except to say the device contained data on nuclear weapons.

NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks said that all classified work involving the computer data storage devices had been halted at the Albuquerque office, pending completion of the investigation.

"I am disappointed that we have found another case of lax procedures in protecting classified information," Brooks said in a news release.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on July 23 ordered that work involving CREM -- disks or other removable computer storage devices -- be halted at all the government's nuclear weapons facilities until inventories of the devices are conducted and new security procedures put in place.

The missing device at the Albuquerque office was discovered as part of that inventory, Wilkes said.

Meanwhile, investigators, despite extensive searches, have yet to find the two CREM devices that were reported missing at the Los Alamos laboratory.

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