Nuclear Security: DOE Needs to Improve Control Over Classified Information

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE) maintains millions of classified documents containing highly sensitive nuclear weapons design and production information. Allegations that the Peoples Republic of China obtained nuclear warhead designs from an employee of DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as the disappearance of two computer hard drives containing highly sensitive weapons information from that same laboratory, have raised concerns about how effectively DOE protects classified information, particularly the most sensitive classified information that is contained in vaults and computer systems. DOE's security program consists ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. August 24, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE) maintains millions of classified documents containing highly sensitive nuclear weapons design and production information. Allegations that the Peoples Republic of China obtained nuclear warhead designs from an employee of DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as the disappearance of two computer hard drives containing highly sensitive weapons information from that same laboratory, have raised concerns about how effectively DOE protects classified information, particularly the most sensitive classified information that is contained in vaults and computer systems. DOE's security program consists of many strategies for protecting and controlling classified information, such as controlling access to classified information through physical and administrative barriers and determining whether a person's work requires a "need to know" the information. DOE has recently increased protection for top-secret documents by revising its Classified Matter Protection and Control Manual, which provides detailed requirements for the protection and control of classified matter. This report reviews the (1) extent to which DOE's Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories have implemented DOE's established access controls and need-to-know requirements for classified vaults and computer systems containing the most sensitive classified information as well as the adequacy of these requirements and (2) steps DOE is taking to upgrade the protection of its classified information. GAO found that the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories have implemented DOE's access controls and need-to-know requirements for both vaults and classified computer systems containing the most sensitive classified information. However, DOE's requirements for documenting need to know lack specificity, allowing laboratory managers wide variations in interpretation and implementation and. DOE has recently taken, and continues to take, steps to upgrade protection and control over its classified information, but additional steps are needed."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • August 24, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Nuclear Security: DOE Needs to Improve Control Over Classified Information, report, August 24, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291682/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.