Los Alamos security chiefs reassigned
The top two security officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico were reassigned Wednesday, the latest in a series of high-level staff changes at the weapons facility in the past few weeks.
According to Los Alamos officials, Stan Busboom, head of the security division, and his deputy, Gene Tucker, were reassigned to nonmanagement positions because of "substantial criticism and concern" by oversight organizations. Contractors run the weapons lab for the Energy Department.
On Dec. 23, two other directors resigned amid accusations of corruption and missing equipment. Director John Browne and Deputy Director Joseph Salgado both decided to leave because of alleged abuse of government purchase cards and several incidents involving missing computer equipment containing sensitive information.
"The removal of the lab's security managers is long overdue and represents the type of cultural change needed at the lab," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, an investigative organization that works to improve public policy. "Not only is there strong evidence pointing to widespread fraud at the lab, but inadequate physical security has left nuclear materials vulnerable to terrorists," Brian said.
On Jan. 3, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham commended the management reorganization efforts under way at the laboratory. "For 60 years, the scientists and engineers of Los Alamos have played a vital role in ensuring the security of the United States," Abraham said. "It is crucial that we restore public confidence in the management of the laboratory so that they can continue to play that role. The nation needs the same confidence in the business management and security at Los Alamos as it has in the laboratory's weapons design and basic science," he said.