Energy secretary fires NNSA chief

Linton Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, was fired Jan. 4 by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, according to a DOE announcement.

Brooks’ dismissal ends a tenure marked by several key security breaches at national laboratories and the discovery of a computer hard drive containing thousands of classified documents at the home of a former employee.

“During my tenure at the department, and even before, there have been a number of management issues involving the National Nuclear Security Administration, the most recent of which was a serious security breach several months ago at the Los Alamos National Laboratory,” Bodman said in an unusually candid statement.

“These management and security issues can have serious implications for the security of the United States,” he added. “The deputy secretary and I repeatedly have stressed to NNSA and laboratory management the importance of these issues being addressed, rectified and prevented in the future.”

Bodman said the current NNSA management “has done its best to address these concerns,” but he said he did not believe progress has been adequate.

“Therefore, and after careful consideration, I have decided that it is time for new leadership at the NNSA, and I have asked for the resignation of NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks,” Bodman said. “Ambassador Brooks will tender his resignation to the president and depart later this month. An acting administrator will be designated soon.”

Lawmakers reacted quickly. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a leading critic of DOE policy, issued a statement saying it was appropriate to start addressing the security, safety and management lapses at DOE nuclear weapons facilities with the removal of high-level managers. “I am afraid that it will take more than a new boss to fix the problems, which are far more systemic and pervasive in nature,” he said.

Markey promised a prompt and thorough inquiry.

Brooks is a retired Navy officer and was a lead U.S. arms reduction negotiator, earning the rank of ambassador.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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