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Lawsuit returns to the scene of the CREM

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By Roger Snodgrass

A lawsuit filed Dec. 12 in New Mexico District Court in Los Alamos revisits a controversial episode in the recent history of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In a legal complaint, John Horne, a now-retired firing site leader and lead technician, says he was one of several employees implicated in the alleged disappearance of two classified disks, an incident that turned out to be a false alarm.

A statement by the laboratory this morning said the laboratory had not yet been served with the complaint by John Horne.

He was the presumed owner of the disks that were reported missing on July 6, 2004. But in fact, as later developments revealed, he was merely the person who had been assigned extra barcodes by an inexperienced clerk, and then expected to account for classified material that he never possessed.

As it turned out, the Classified Removable Electronic Media (CREM) in question was assumed to exist only because of an accounting error.

On Aug. 11, Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., tipped off the public that he thought the matter was a “false positive,” and not in itself a serious breach of security, but the “nothing happened” excuse did not sit well in Congress nor at the Department of Energy, weary of safety and security turbulence at LANL.


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