Los Alamos vulnerable to PC theft, inspector general declares

The Energy Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory is vulnerable to loss and theft of personal computers, the agency's inspector general found.

Some classified desktop computers were not properly inventoried, and employees did not give required notification of a missing part of a computer, according to a report released today by the inspector general. The lab's listing of classified computers was inaccurate and identification and accreditation paperwork was in disarray, the report states.

Agency officials agreed with the findings.

But they are working to remedy the chronic security weaknesses and classified media mismanagement. In May, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham renewed efforts to tighten security by announcing a host of reforms, including a goal of converting many computers with classified data into disk-free stations in five years.

At the end of fiscal 2002, Los Alamos officials said the lab had about 5,000 laptops and 40,000 desktop computers.

Energy officials have halted all classified activity until concerns about computer security, which have persistently dogged the agency, are resolved.

"People who believe their dedication to science or to our mission supersedes our commitment to safety, security and environmental compliance put us all at risk," wrote Peter Nanos, the lab's director, in an internal memo issued last month after a recent flap over missing pieces of classified removable electronic media.

Today's report follows an April interim report that found management to be unaccountable for laptops.

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