Former Y-12 Guard Challenges Removal Over 2012 Breach

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
May 27, 2014, 10:01 a.m.

A former se­cur­ity of­ficer at a nuc­le­ar-arms plant is chal­len­ging his ter­min­a­tion over a break-in by peace ad­voc­ates, the Knoxville News Sen­tinel re­ports.

Kirk Gar­land, 53, told a U.S. gov­ern­ment me­di­at­or he took un­fair blame for a breach made pos­sible by sys­tem­ic vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies at Ten­ness­ee’s Y-12 Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Com­plex, the news­pa­per re­por­ted on Monday. Gar­land has de­man­ded salary he would have been paid had he not lost his job. He was let go for pur­portedly act­ing care­lessly as the first se­cur­ity of­ficer to reach the Ju­ly 2012 in­tru­sion’s three par­ti­cipants.

“At the end of the day I stopped their ac­tions, I de­tained them, I called for backup, we ar­res­ted them, I test­i­fied against them and they’re in pris­on,” Gar­land said. A fed­er­al judge in Feb­ru­ary handed mul­tiple-year pris­on sen­tences to each of the “Trans­form Now Plow­shares” act­iv­ists, in­clud­ing oc­to­gen­ari­an nun Megan Rice.

Gar­land ar­gued that mal­func­tion­ing sensors and sur­veil­lance equip­ment en­abled the group to cut through a series peri­met­er fences and enter the highest-se­cur­ity sec­tion of the fa­cil­ity. He said the trio was already well in­to its demon­stra­tion at the time of his ar­rival.

De­tract­ors, though, have ar­gued that Gar­land’s re­sponse could have en­abled a more ser­i­ous breach by ex­trem­ists, had they staged a protest as a di­ver­sion. The tres­pass­ers’ ac­tions in­cluded splash­ing blood and paint­ing slo­gans on the fa­cil­ity’s store­house for bomb-grade urani­um.

Gar­land noted that he was ini­tially praised for his role in de­tain­ing the an­ti­war ad­voc­ates. “I was a hero for about two days and then I turned in­to a zero,” he said.

The fired guard lost his home and health in­sur­ance fol­low­ing ter­min­a­tion, and he now suf­fers from a series of med­ic­al ail­ments.

Gar­land now works as a se­cur­ity of­ficer at a Ten­ness­ee state pris­on. He can­not win back his old job be­cause the site no longer uses his former em­ploy­er, a di­vi­sion of G4S Gov­ern­ment Solu­tions.

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