Lab strives to regain security credibility

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By Roger Snodgrass

No one has found that security problems at Los Alamos compromised national security in 2007, but dealing with past and persistent security vulnerabilities at the lab was one of the major stories of the year.

Although the discovery of hundreds of pages and electronic files of classified documents in a mobile home park adjoining laboratory property occurred in Oct. 2006, the Jessica Quintana affair and its repercussions set a tone and created a stir that spanned 2007 as well.

As the year came to a close, Quintana, the archivist who had removed copies of the documents from the laboratory, was sentenced on Dec. 20 to two years of probation by U.S. Judge Lorenzo Garcia.

Quintana avoided fines and a request by the Department of Energy that she pay restitution of $384,150. She told the court, “There’s nobody to blame but myself.”

Beginning with a stormy Congressional hearing in January, LANL Director Michael Anastasio was cross-examined by members of the investigations subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce committee, who demanded an explanation and threatened financial retribution.

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