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Los Alamos Leak Scrutinized

A new strategy for storing removeable media could result from a meeting today between representatives from Los Alamos National Laboratory and brass from the University of California.

The meeting between the lab and the university, which manages the lab under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, is the latest action taken in the wake of a security breach last week -- the third and most serious in eight months. The previous breach, back in May, involved 11 items of "classified removeable electronic media" (CREM) that didn't contain any potentially harmful information (see Fed Disk Debacle's an ILM Cue).

Last Friday, though, Los Alamos reported that two items of CREM were missing from the lab's Weapons Physics Directorate -- and apparently, that's every bit as scary as it sounds, since the missing secrets relate to weapons the lab is currently developing.

The lab won't say whether those devices were floppies or portable hard drives, and spokesmen for both the lab and the university say internal and external investigations are underway.

Lab spokesman Kevin Roark says the lab is trying hard to eliminate its reliance on CREM and has earmarked $26 million to $30 million for a project that's scheduled to take place over a three- to four-year period. The goal is to move away from using CREM, of which the lab currently has more than 40,000 separate items on its inventory.

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