Four more Los Alamos employees suspended

The probe into missing computer disks from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico widened Wednesday, according to a USA Today report.

Four more lab workers have been put on paid leave during the investigation into the two missing disks that contain classified information. The recent action brings the number of suspended employees to 19 due to security risks at the lab.

Another four have been placed on leave in connection to safety concerns over an eye injury incurred from a laser.

On Wednesday, lab director Pete Nanos conducted an "all-hands" meeting with employees at the facility, urging them to be more vigilant about security. Officials at the University of California, which holds the federal contract to manage Los Alamos, also attended the session.

In April 2003, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham decided to put the university's Los Alamos contract up for bid for the first time in decades, after two investigators at the lab accused managers of ignoring fraudulent use of government purchasing cards and attempting to thwart internal and outside investigators.

The recent spate of security lapses calls into question the integrity of the lab and its future in working with classified information. The lab's classified work has been temporarily halted as it performs an inventory of its portable storage devices.

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