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Internal Insecurity

From the Department of Energy comes another report of internal security woes that make it that much easier for sensitive national defense information to get into the hands of our enemies:

The Energy Department’s Inspector General, Gregory H. Friedman, has found fault with the Idaho National Laboratory’s technical procedures for removing restricted nuclear data and confidential data from old computers.

DOE agreed with the conclusions of a report Friedman’s office issued, which essentially recommended that the Idaho laboratory adopt and enforce all department policies regarding the handling of excess computers.

If this sounds familiar it is because time and time again DOE labs have demonstrated that they lack the capacity to follow the most fundamental rules and clearly spelled out policies regarding security. This would be less of an issue if DOE were some other government bureaucracy, but the DOE is the agency responsible for the security of our nuclear weapons stockpiles.

Our national labs are government facilities that are managed and operated by private companies. This should make it easier to address these pressing issues since the operating concern is undoubtedly contractually obligated to follow applicable government policies. Given the level of attention being paid to WMD proliferation these days, rectifying lab security issues - and removing those responsible for allowing these lapses to continue - should be a top priority for our national security leadership.