Mishandling Secrets

Sandia publishes classified information, claims that’s okay

Rumor has it (and there’s corroborating circumstantial evidence) that Sandia often tries to cover up embarrassing situations and documents by classifying them so that the press cannot find and publish the information.   If that’s true, it is certainly a misuse of the government’s national security and classification laws.

But apparently, Sandia management doesn’t think those laws apply to them. DOE fined Sandia $557,500 for disseminating classified information and for at least 6 security violations. Although the charges don’t explicitly state how the information was disseminated, they hint that it was included in a public presentation or publication.

Sandia claimed that they didn’t do anything wrong because the information was misclassified. Instead of following procedures to have it reclassified or unclassified appropriately, they simply tried to shrug off the incident. Half of the security violations that DOE found were related to Sandia’s inadequate internal investigation of the leak and failure to implement internal procedures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Sandia seems to think that it can break national security laws whenever it wants, but that other people should be held to stricter standards.

Details at http://energy.gov/ea/downloads/final-notice-violation-sandia-corporation

One thought on “Mishandling Secrets

  1. A more detailed explanation of this episode, including Sandia’s bungling attempts to fix it, is available at The Center for Public Integrity. Apparently, a Sandia employee was giving public presentations that included highly classified information, stored multiple versions of the information on publicly-accessible Sandia computers, and even handed out the classified material on CDs to conference goers.

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