We've known for a while now that the "two computer disks that supposedly disappeared last summer, prompting a virtual shutdown of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in fact never existed." But what's interesting in this AP rpeort is that the Department of Energy has gone ahead and decided to slash the lab's management anyway.
In a harshly worded review that described severe security weaknesses at the nuclear lab, the U.S. Energy Department concluded that bar codes were recorded for the disks but the disks themselves were never created. A separate FBI investigation supported that finding, according to the report."The weaknesses revealed by this incident are severe and must be corrected," according to the report.As punishment for the problems, the Energy Department slashed by two-thirds the management fee it paid to the University of California for running the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Out of a possible $8.7 million, UC will get only $2.9 million; it is the largest fee reduction ever imposed on a national laboratory."Although multiple investigations have confirmed that the `missing' disks never existed, the major weakness in controlling classified material revealed by this incident are absolutely unacceptable and the University of California must be held accountable for them," National Nuclear Security Agency Administrator Linton Brooks said in a statement.This is a real change of business for an Energy Department that usually looks the other way when one of its nuclear centers screw up. The lab watchdogs at Project on Government Oversight may feel that any fee is too much for the University. But this seems to me to be a proper step.