'Unauthorized visitors' spur SOC firings

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Lab security: Anonymous source leads officials to discovery

By John Severance

More details have emerged concerning the five members of the Los Alamos National Laboratory security force that were terminated two weeks ago for the improper use of the live fire shooting range located at Technical Area 72.


The lab security force is called Securing Our Country or SOC.

The lab was asked if it could provide any more background about what the inappropriate conduct was and it responded, “Unauthorized visitors were allowed access to the shooting range and allowed to operate a variety of firearms.”

The lab said the incident was discovered when it received information from an anonymous source, that was then verified by LANL and SOC.

As far as the contract between the lab and SOC and whether there would be any further action or otherwise, the response was, “The inquiry is ongoing and we will determine what further actions are needed, if any.”

The lab said it is not identifying the guards involved because it is a personnel action and that it would not characterize the relationships between the involved parties who were on the shooting range.

NNSA spokesperson Josh McConaha said, “We’ve been closely involved with LANL as they have investigated the incident and taken corrective action.”

Last week, Lab Director Charlie McMillan sent a memo out to employees that contained the statement that was released to the Los Alamos Monitor.

“After a swift but preliminary inquiry, it was concluded that inappropriate behavior warranted the termination of five protective force firing range personnel. The laboratory will continue to determine involvement by others, including laboratory personnel.

“Although the inquiry concluded this was not a safety or security risk, the laboratory takes this kind of inappropriate behavior very seriously.

“The laboratory does not tolerate unauthorized use of our facilities or equipment. We hold ourselves and our contractors to the highest possible standards of behavior.”