Friday, September 30, 2005

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Investigators from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) have apparently been having a high old time at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, an important DoE nuclear weapons site that houses enormous amounts of weapon-ready U-233.

They witnessed some fairly staggering breaches of security, which you can read about here.

ORNL's response was to claim that the investigators had broken free from their escorts, and led them on a merry chase around the image that sounds more like a Warner Brothers cartoon than a guided investigation of a nuclear site. Suffice it to say that this charge would reflect very poorly on the lab's security - which is provided by BWXT and Wackenhut - even if, by some incredible stretch of the imagination, it happened to be true. POGO notes somewhat acerbically that the combined age of its two investigators is a spry 134 years old.

A follow-up post goes into even more damning details:

[T]he POGO investigators were asked by Oak Ridge security guards if they were driving a blue pick up (they were, in fact, driving a Toyota Camry). So, assuming Oak Ridge isn't lying about having our boys under surveillance, were the guards actually observing the blue pick up and not the POGO Camry? In fact, when the investigators were finally being escorted to leave, the security guards kept insisting that they go back to "their" pick up truck. The investigators had to actually prove to them that their car keys were to the Camry.
Needless to say, this isn't the first time the Oak Ridge facility has had security problems. In a self-conducted security exercise, for instance, ORNL's entire security force was "killed" by intruders in a mere 90 seconds. They've also cheated on similar tests. And some of you may remember this story:
Sixteen foreign-born construction workers with phony immigration documents were able to enter a nuclear weapons plant in eastern Tennessee because of lax security controls, a federal report said Monday.
In other Homeland Security news, seat belt use has reached a new high.

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