News

USIS Washington File

27 June 2000

Text: Commerce Reaches Agreement with Laboratories on Exports

(Shipments made to Russia without appropriate licenses)  (660)

F. Amanda DeBusk, assistant secretary of commerce for export
enforcement announced June 26 that agreements have been reached with
two laboratories concerning alleged shipments of items to Russia
without proper Department of Commerce authorizations, according to a
Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) press release.

The Department of Commerce alleged that the Los Alamos National
Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory had shipped
commodities -- including devices used for measuring nuclear material
-- to Russia without obtaining the export licenses required under the
Export Administration Regulations.

The Department would have likely granted the export licenses "because
the exports were covered by a presidential order to assist Russia in
the control and monitoring of their nuclear materials," DeBusk said.

"As a result of these investigations and the resulting agreements, we
are seeing significant improvements in the Los Alamos and Lawrence
Livermore compliance procedures compared to what they were five years
ago."

Following is the text of the press release:

(begin text)

U. S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of Export Administration 
June 26, 2000

COMMERCE REACHES AGREEMENTS WITH LOS ALAMOS AND LAWRENCE LIVERMORE
NATIONAL LABS IN EXPORT INVESTIGATIONS

WASHINGTON -- Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement
F. Amanda DeBusk today announced agreements with Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, California, concerning alleged
shipments of various commodities without the proper Department of
Commerce authorizations.

In 1996, the Department of Energy (DOE) discovered that the labs may
have made the unauthorized exports and brought the matter to the
attention of the Department. LANL and LLNL fully cooperated in the
investigation.

The Department of Commerce alleged that LANL, on four occasions from
1994 to 1996, and LLNL, on one occasion in 1994, shipped commodities
to Russia without obtaining the export licenses required under the
Export Administration Regulations. The exports by LANL occurred under
the Department of Energy Material Protection, Control and Accounting
Program, designed to reduce the threat to U.S. national security posed
by unsecured Russian weapons-usable nuclear material. The commodities
consisted of devices for measuring nuclear material, a communications
router, a 486 computer, and a printer. The export by LLNL occurred
under a separate lab-to-lab project.

Assistant Secretary DeBusk stated, "If the labs had applied for
licenses, it is likely the Commerce Department would have granted them
because the exports were covered by a presidential order to assist
Russia in the control and monitoring of their nuclear materials. The
program to help Russia stop the unauthorized removal of their nuclear
materials is designed to enhance America's national security."

DeBusk continued, "As a result of these investigations and the
resulting agreements, we are seeing significant improvements in the
Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore compliance procedures compared to
what they were five years ago. We are working closely with the labs
and DOE on new training programs, and we will carefully monitor the
required export control audits."

The agreements call for the labs to audit past transactions to ensure
that exports to countries of concern were in compliance with the
licensing requirements; increase their training of personnel on export
controls; and provide increased technical training to the Bureau of
Export Administration (BXA) on nuclear matters.

The agreements will be reinforced by a new export control program
implemented by the Departments of Commerce and Energy. Under this
program, officials from the DOE complex will work at BXA so that they
can enhance their compliance systems while at the same time providing
BXA basic ongoing technical support on nuclear matters.

The Department of Commerce, through BXA, administers and enforces
export controls for reasons of national security, foreign policy,
nonproliferation, and short supply. Criminal penalties, as well as
administrative sanctions, can be imposed for violations of the
regulations.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)