Nanos Keeps LANL Moving

By Adam Rankin
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
October 14, 2004 Thursday

As the FBI's investigation into a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee and a pair of missing computer disks continues, laboratory director Pete Nanos is pushing ahead with the resumption of normal operations and a reorganization of management, meant to provide more control and oversight.

FBI spokesman Bill Elwell said the agency is still investigating an unnamed LANL employee, now on paid leave, allegedly involved in the disappearance of a pair of classified computer disks. The FBI became involved in the investigation at the end of July.

The question of whether the disks really exist, raised by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., this summer, still hasn't been answered. Elwell said FBI agents on the case "haven't told me anything different; as far as I know, they are still working on the case."

Elwell said there are a lot of factors involved in the case, some of which the FBI can't control, so he can't say when the investigation might be resolved. On Tuesday, Nanos announced a management reshuffle, effectively splitting LANL's Operations Directorate in two, creating a Technical Services Directorate and a Security and Facility Operations Directorate.

LANL spokeswoman Kathy DeLucas said the move is not the result of any single event or series of events, such as accidents or security lapses, but came about while the laboratory was undergoing significant internal review, which was seized upon as an opportunity to reorganize a directorate that was "too big." Nanos said in a statement that he is convinced the split "will result in improved operational efficiency and better alignment of professional services."

Nanos tapped Carolyn Mangeng, who had been acting deputy director, to be the acting associate director for the Technical Services Directorate, which will focus on regulatory and compliance issues, project management and performance, counterintelligence and internal security, as well as health, safety and radiation protection.

To replace Mangeng, Nanos named Don Cobb, associate director for threat reduction, as the new acting deputy director. And he placed Scott Gibbs, who had been acting associate director for operations, in the role of acting associate director for the Security and Facility Operations Directorate.

The new directorate will support LANL nuclear and waste operations, security, emergency operations, space management and site planning and facility operations support. The new divisions will "be a longterm sustainable, reliable way to help divisions along the straight and narrow," DeLucas said.

She said LANL is moving toward complete resumption of normal operations, suspended July 16, following an accident that injured a student intern's eye and the disappearance of two classified disks. Of the three work risk levels, she said all of the least-risky work is back up and running, about 70 percent of level-two work has been approved for resumption and about 16 percent of level-three work, the most risky, has been approved to restart.

Classified work still hasn't been approved to restart, though DeLucas said LANL is working closely with Energy Department officials to validate its inventory of classified computer materials, which is about 86 percent complete. The inventory is required for classified work to resume. Classified work has been on hold since July, following the disappearance of two disks.

DeLucas said LANL has inventoried 23,555 pieces of classified electronic media and has created six out of a total of 19 classified media libraries that will house and track the materials.