The Energy Secretary fired the head of the department’s nuclear weapons program on Thursday, citing a series of security failures at national laboratories, including the discovery of a computer device containing thousands of classified documents in the home of a former worker during a drug raid by the police.Obviously, security in our nuclear weapons agency should be a very high priority. We worry that if Iran got nukes they would leak info out to others, but I think we need to get the log out of our own eye first.
The official who was dismissed, Linton F. Brooks, had been administrator of the National Nuclear Security Agency since May 2003. The agency was established in 2000 because of chronic security problems in the weapons program.
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Describing the gaps revealed by the drug raid, in New Mexico, the new report on the Los Alamos laboratory, a center for nuclear weapons research, concluded, “In a number of key areas, security policy was nonexistent, applied inconsistently, or not followed.”
Will this move fix the problem? Probably not:
Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement on Thursday evening, “While it may be appropriate to begin to address the incessant string of security, safety and management lapses at Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities with the removal of high-level managers, I am afraid that it will take more than a new boss to fix the problems, which are far more systemic and pervasive in nature.”It is easy to change management, it is much more difficult to fix problems. With this, as with the Iraq issue and the intelligence community issues, more than just a cosmetic change is needed. However, when problematic behaviors become ingrained over time, change can be next to impossible to achieve. Firing Brooks may be necessary and a step in the right direction, I don't know, but certainly more needs to come with it.