Energy asking for millions for security

The Energy Department is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in the

fiscal 2001 budget to dramatically increase security at its defense facilities.

Even before the latest breach of security was disclosed at Los Alamos National

Laboratory, chief information officer John Gilligan said the request was

part of the appropriations process to make major security improvements at

strategic locations.

Among the facilities he would like to upgrade are Los Alamos and Sandia

in New Mexico and the national laboratory in Rome, N.Y.

In an interview, Gilligan said the exact amount of the request is currently

classified, but it is not part of the so-called "black budget" for security

measures. He said the money would be used for measures such as a secure

Internet link between DOE headquarters and the field and secure video for

teleconferences.

At the House Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee,

committee members expressed dismay that not enough money had been allocated

for security at DOE in the wake of last year's spy scandal involving scientist

Wen Ho Lee.

Eugene E. Habiger, director of the DOE's Office of Security and Emergency

Operations, acknowledged that more money and better organization is needed

to combat the problem.

"If we had received adequate funding, our performance would have been better,"

he told the panel.

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