Nuclear Laboratory Fined $3 Million for Lab Breach

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of California received a $3 million fine Sept. 28 for a security discrepancy at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In Oct. 2006 during a drug raid, Los Alamos police found several computer storage devices and more than 1,000 pages of classified documents in the trailer of a former employee of a laboratory subcontractor. The woman said she took the items home to catch up on scanning documents and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

The university pointed out that it was not the primary manager of the lab at that time, adding that it held no responsibility because a subcontractor’s employee – not a university employee – committed the breach.

The university was still accountable for “structural management deficiencies,” according to the National Nuclear Security Administration. The agency explained in a notice that a subcontractor employee took advantage of weaknesses in the security management system right after the end of the university’s tenure.

The university has 30 days to challenge the notice or pay the fine. The university was examining the notice, said a spokesman.

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