Friday, September 17, 2004

Los Alamos National Lab to resume operations by end of September

Los Alamos National Lab is set to resume operations at the end of September 2004. The question of whether there were, or were not, missing zip disks has not yet been answered.

from the Scientist:

After calling a halt to operations at the lab on July 16, 2004, LANL director Nanos lashed out at the few scientists responsible, calling them "cowboys" for failing to follow safety and security procedures. In an all-employee E-mail this week, Nanos said he shut the lab down because "a pattern of near misses in safety and security had created in me and others a fundamental lack of confidence in our ability to conduct work without a major mishap."

Nanos put 19 scientists and managers on paid leave following the July 7 discovery that a pair of classified Zip disks were missing from the top-secret Weapons Physics Division. Statements from Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), who was briefed on the matter, raised the possibility that the disks never existed.

In an interview this week, Nanos declined to say whether the disks really exist or whether a clerical error made it seem like they were missing, citing pending investigations by the FBI and Energy Department. "I think that is all going to come out very shortly," he said.

And, in all of this, LANL hired a patent attorney.


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