Former U.S. Official Alleges Lax Security at Nuclear Weapons Labs

A former U.S. security tester accused the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories of pervasive security lapses, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Sept. 23, 2002).

“Some of the facilities would fail year after year,” said Rich Levernier, who spent six years running war games for the United States and was quoted in a Vanity Fair article. “In more than 50 percent of our tests at the Los Alamos facility, we got in, captured the plutonium, got out again, and in some cases didn’t fire a shot, because we didn’t encounter any guards,” he added.

National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Anson Franklin denied the allegations yesterday and said that the Energy Department has increased its security measures.

“Allegations of a 50-percent failure rate in security tests are simply untrue,” Franklin said.

The Vanity Fair article also said that Levernier, a 22-year employee at the Energy Department, was stripped of his security clearance in 2001 after raising security concerns. Franklin also denied these allegations (Associated Press/Washington Post, Oct. 7).

October 7, 2003
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A former U.S. security tester accused the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories of pervasive security lapses, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Sept. 23, 2002).

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