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CONGRESSMAN
DUNCAN HUNTER
Proudly Serving the 52nd District of California

www.house.gov/hunter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2000     CONTACT: Michael Harrison (202) 225-5672

HUNTER'S "NUCLEAR SECRETS SAFETY ACT" PASSES HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

    Washington, D.C.  Legislation introduced by Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-52) to improve security at our nation's nuclear laboratories was approved today by the House Armed Services Committee.  H.R. 4737, the Nuclear Secrets Safety Act, incorporates common-sense corrections into the Department of Energy's (DOE) current security policies, which are severely inadequate and have led to several security breaches over the past two years.

    "In light of the testimony Congress has received recently, this legislation is a reasonable and valid approach to correcting the DOE's irresponsible security policies," said Hunter.  "It addresses the basic problems that currently exist and requires the DOE to protect our secrets with the same effort in which they were gained.  Additionally, passage of this legislation provides the new director of the National Nuclear Security Administration with the congressional backing to make the changes at DOE that will be necessary."

    Specifically, H.R. 4737 requires the DOE to administer the following actions at all of their national laboratories:

Perform a complete inventory of documents and devices containing Restricted Data and present this information to Congress within 90 days of the bill becoming law;

Install stricter identification procedures for access to vaults containing national security secrets;

Change the combinations of all nuclear secrets vaults.

    The House Armed Services Committee has held extensive hearings over the past month after discovering that top-secret computer hard drives were missing from the DOE's national laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  The Committee's hearings revealed that the DOE kept this sensitive data in areas with no surveillance cameras or log-in identification procedures and that custodians would leave the vaults that contained these secrets unattended.  The DOE further testified that they failed to change the vault locks after the FBI located a spy at the facility.  H.R. 4737 is awaiting consideration by the full House of Representatives.
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