The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has accepted a $2.8 million settlement from the University of California as a result of a security breach at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Oct. 2006.
On Dec. 17, 2007, the NNSA announced the details of the fine, which amounts to slightly less than the $3 million penalty originally imposed by the organization in Sept. 2007. Under the terms of the agreement, the UC accepted responsibility for violations of the lab’s classified information security requirements, withdrew its request for judicial review and offered to pay $2.8 million.
In a statement, the UC said it will pay the fine through revenues from the LANL lab management contract.
In addition, the University said it “recognizes that further protections could and should have been provided to reduce the opportunity for the cited unauthorized removal.”
The University received a preliminary notice of the violation in June 2007, followed by a final notice sent in Sept. 2007.
The fine stems from an Oct. 2006 incident in which police discovered over 1,000 pages of unauthorized documents on former LANL subcontracted employee Jessica Quintana’s computer during a drug raid of her residence.
Quintana claimed she had removed the documents with a portable drive to catch up on work, which included scanning classified materials. She pled guilty to a misdemeanor.
The University had previously denied violating the D.O.E.’s security policies, arguing that Quintana was a subcontracted lab worker, not a University employee.
LANL, which conducts nuclear weapons research and other studies, is managed by the Los Alamos National Security, LLC – a joint venture between the UC, Bechtel National, Inc., BWX Technologies, Inc. and the Washington Group International, Inc. The UC solely managed and operated the laboratories from 1943 to May 2006.