Friday, January 05, 2007

Head of National Nuclear Security Administration Resigns

One of the interesting aspects of the 'war on terror' is the continuous claims by the politicians that the erosion of civil liberties is a necessary evil to 'protect' us. Given these continuous claims, you would think that they really do take the threat seriously. However, as today's events have shown, the reality is very much different.

During the past year there have been two major security breaches at Los Alamos Laboratory, leading to the theft of numerous documents. Today saw the resignation of the man responsible for these security breaches, Linton Brooks. As head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, he was directly responsible for any security leaks. Of course, given the inherent incompetence of the fading Bu$h administration, he was not removed from his post until nearly three months after the latest security lapse. And this is the administration that is 'tough on terror'.

No leader can credibly claim to be 'tough on terror' when there have been two major security lapses at the heart of America's nuclear arsenal. In fact, these lapses were so serious, Brooks' boss claimed that:

Errr, no shit Sherlock, particularly as one lapse involved lost keys to classified areas containing highly enriched uranium. Wow, these guys really are tough on the terrorist threat, eh? As the administration and it's mouthpieces like to continually remind us, there is a serious 'threat' that could resort to detonating a 'dirty bomb' in a major US city. Brooks had faced calls for his dismissal long before his eventual resignation. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, claimed that:

Barton had called for his immediate dismissal last summer when the first security breach came to light. Furthermore, in November, the Project on Government Oversight, a private watchdog group, urged that Brooks be fired, saying he had been slow in implementing a two-year-old policy to do away with removable storage devices in weapons-related computers.

These security breaches run right at the heart of the Bush administration. In December 2005, a partnership between the University of California and Bechtel led to them being awarded aseven-year contract to manage and operate Los Alamos laboratory. Bechtel has many well known links to the Bush administration. Riley P. Bechtel, the current CEO, was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Export Council, which advises the president on international trade issues. He served the Council for a year. George P. Shultz, a former director, also served on the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Ross J. Connelly was the former CEO of Bechtel Energy Resources Corporation. He currently serves on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation under George W. Bush. Clearly, the question of security runs much deeper than Brooks. However, it is unlikely that the Bush administration would terminate the contract with Bechtel, given the links to the White House. It would appear that although Brooks clearly had to go, the problems will continue as long as Bechtel are involved.

Yes, truly the Bu$h administration is very concerned with the terrorist threat. That is why it failed to have Brooks sacked, why Bechtel continue to run Los Alamos and why nuclear facilities are vulnerable to attack. If there is such a serious threat, surely nuclear facilities would have the most sophisticated security available. Instead, it seems that the Bu$h administration are, as always, more worried about helping their friends in big business, rather than serving the American people.

For Further Information: Read the report by the Project on Government Oversight: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex:Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory At High Risk