Nuclear Security:

Accountability for Livermore's Secret Classified Documents Is Inadequate

RCED-91-65: Published: Feb 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's controls over weapons research documents, focusing on the: (1) extent of missing classified documents; and (2) adequacy of classified document accountability.

GAO found that: (1) a recent internal inventory identified 12,000 missing secret documents covering a wide range of subjects; (2) since the laboratory did not assess the missing documents' potential for compromising national security, neither the laboratory nor DOE could provide assurance that classified information had not been compromised; (3) an ongoing reconciliation effort located 2,000 missing documents; (4) laboratory accountability for secret documents was inadequate; (5) approximately 108 laboratory groups managed and controlled secret documents using a variety of classified document accountability systems; (6) due to varied accountability practices, the laboratory could not ensure effective document management; (7) laboratory management was implementing a centralized computer database to ensure effective document control; (8) the laboratory did not keep accurate records showing the location and disposition of all accountable classified documents due several recordkeeping weaknesses; and (9) DOE failed to provide adequate oversight of the laboratory's secret document control program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOE San Francisco field office has completed its assessment of the potential for compromise. Information on missing documents has been turned over to the FBI for possible use in future cases where the FBI uncovers classified material in unauthorized hands. In the March 1992 report, DOE San Francisco field office assessment for compromise of unaccounted for documents of LLNL was completed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the San Francisco Operations Office Manager to ensure the immediate implementation of the requirements of 32 C.F.R. section 2001.47 for assessing the potential for compromise to the national security of the identified missing secret documents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE Under Secretary sent a memo on February 1991 which modified accountability requirements contained in DOE Order 5635.1A, Chapter V, to apply only to weapon data classified as secret restricted data. DOE Director, Office of Security Affairs, sent a memo in May 1992 modifying accountability requirements for secret documents.

    Recommendation: Because of the magnitude of the secret document control accountability problem at the laboratory, the Secretary of Energy should require the Director, Office of Security Evaluations, to include an assessment of the laboratory's secret document program in its security inspections at least until such time that DOE is assured that a sound secret document accountability system is in place.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. The Livermore Laboratory's classified document accountability system has been centralized, including recordkeeping, policies, and procedures. All classified document custodians have been trained on the new system. DOE field office reviews are assessing policies and procedures and their implementation, as well as conducting inventories.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight of the laboratory's secret document program, the Secretary of Energy should direct both the Director, Office of Security Evaluations, and the San Francisco Operations Office Manager, to expand their audit coverage to include an assessment of the adequacy of the laboratory's secret document control policies and procedures and how well they are being implemented.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and issued an "Information Security Inspectors Guide" in January 1992. DOE headquarters and San Francisco field office staff indicated the guide was being used for all inspections.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight of the laboratory's secret document program, the Secretary of Energy should direct both the Director, Office of Security Evaluations, and the San Francisco Operations Office Manager, to use sound statistical samples when assessing the adequacy of accountability over secret documents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE is currently working with DOD and CIA on a National Industrial Security Program to develop uniform policies and procedures for all three agencies. The Information Security Inspectors Guide also implements improved inspection and sampling methodologies. In January 1992, Security Evaluations distributed to all DOE offices the Information Security Inspector Guide and its supplement.

    Recommendation: Because the recent findings of both the safeguards and security task force and the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act report indicate problems with classified document controls DOE-wide, the Secretary of Energy should implement the above recommendations at other DOE facilities and offices, as appropriate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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