UC faces whopping nuclear fine – a tale of appalling security breaches (and a tweaker w/security clearance)
July 14, 2007
UC could get record nuclear fine
The Energy Department proposes a $3-million penalty for security violations at the Los Alamos lab. The school plans to contest it.
By Richard C. Paddock
The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday proposed a record $3-million fine against the University of California for a security breach last year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in which a worker took home classified documents on a thumb drive.
An investigation by the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration concluded that security procedures implemented by UC were so lax that the contract employee was able to leave the New Mexico nuclear weapons lab with classified documents on her USB electronic storage device, also called a thumb drive, and with other documents she had reproduced at work on a copy machine.
The security breach was discovered in October when police responded to a domestic disturbance call at the trailer home of the employee, Jessica Quintana, and found the thumb drive and documents along with methamphetamine paraphernalia. …