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Livermore Lab Creates New Unit for Security

June 14, 2003|From Associated Press

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory officials are shaking up security management following high-profile gaffes that drew the ire of federal officials.

Lab director Michael Anastasio announced Friday that he is creating a new security division that will be headed by longtime lab employee David Leary. The new organization will report directly to Anastasio.

Security had been part of a department known as the safety, security and environmental protection division. The leader of that department, Dennis Fisher, remains as associate director for safety and environmental protection.

The changes come after a team of federal investigators was dispatched to the lab to find out why it took managers six weeks to find out that a guard's electronic access badge was missing. "Overall, the lab has been functioning well under the nation's heightened security levels for the past year and a half," Anastasio said. "But in the last few months, we've had some mistakes that include management and communication issues in our security department. I feel very strongly that we must focus our full attention on these issues."

The access badge disappeared in April, about the same time that a set of keys was lost. Top managers were told about the keys three weeks after they were lost, but did not hear about the badge for six weeks, even though the guard who lost it had filed a prompt report.

Lab officials, who changed major locks opened by the missing keys and blocked access from the missing card, said there is no evidence either was used to gain access. Three top-level security employees were suspended over the incident, but all have returned to work.

Lawrence Livermore is managed for the government by the University of California, which also manages the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. UC has managed the Livermore and Los Alamos labs since they were founded 51 and 60 years ago, respectively.

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