Report slams DOE counterintelligence
- By Dan Verton
- Jun 28, 2000
The Energy Department's counterintelligence training and awareness program
has "failed dismally," a study by an independent panel of security experts
concluded, characterizing cyber-based counterintelligence as the department's
The "Report of the Redmond Panel," led by counterintelligence expert
Paul Redmond and delivered to Congress June 21, studied DOE efforts to weed
out spies and security leaks at the nation's weapons laboratories. The House
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence established the bipartisan team
of investigators to examine the progress of security reforms throughout
Energy in the wake of last year's Cox Committee report on Chinese nuclear
"There has been no discernible, effective effort from DOE headquarters
to establish and support an effective counterintelligence training and awareness
program," the report stated. It called DOE's annual security refresher programs
"perfunctory," adding that the "sample training materials were bureaucratic,
boring, turgid and completely inefficient."
However, the most pressing challenge still facing the laboratories is
cybercounterintelligence, according to the report. "The magnitude of the
problem and the complexities of the issues are daunting," the report stated.
DOE's security environment is marked by thousands of systems administrators
that have "very wide access," and tens of thousands of e-mail messages are
sent to external addresses each day, the report found.
DOE has taken measures to beef up its cybersecurity mechanisms, such
as keyword searches on outgoing e-mail messages and a pilot program to enhance
intrusion detection, but some efforts are meeting stiff resistance from
DOE employees, the report stated. DOE and lab personnel, for example, have
complained about "excessive reporting burdens" spurred by DOE's use of a
comprehensive intrusion incident reporting system.
DOE also recently hired a dozen retired FBI, CIA and military intelligence
officers to help inspect DOE's counterintelligence programs. However, it
will be a long time before results can be seen, the report concluded.
"In spite of progress in some areas, statements from DOE headquarters
to the effect that all is now well are nonsense," the report stated. "Problems
and deficiencies caused by decades of nonfeasance and neglect cannot be