Auditors Urge NRC to Tighten Personnel Security Checks

Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
See more stories about...
Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
Sept. 19, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

WASH­ING­TON — In­vest­ig­at­ors warned last week of a po­ten­tial na­tion­al-se­cur­ity threat at the U.S. Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion res­ult­ing from a policy that does not pen­al­ize em­ploy­ees who fail to dis­close crim­in­al and fin­an­cial im­pro­pri­et­ies.

The NRC in­spect­or gen­er­al urged the agency to es­tab­lish “con­sequences” for em­ploy­ees who fail to re­port cir­cum­stances such as past ar­rests and chron­ic fin­an­cial debt. It is un­clear wheth­er agency lead­ers plan to cre­ate dis­cip­lin­ary pro­ced­ures for re­lated lapses by its per­son­nel, who can re­ceive ac­cess to sens­it­ive data or nuc­le­ar sub­stances in the course of their work.

NRC em­ploy­ees “rarely com­ply with per­son­nel re­port­ing re­spons­ib­il­it­ies” that re­quire them in part to dis­close if they are al­co­hol­ics or deal­ers of il­leg­al drugs, the in­spect­or gen­er­al said in a re­port dated Sept. 12. The au­thors ex­amined ma­ter­i­als from 35 re-in­vest­ig­a­tions of NRC em­ploy­ees, and found over two dozen files with evid­ence of in­cid­ents that “should have been re­por­ted” to NRC se­cur­ity of­fi­cials, the doc­u­ment states.

“Cer­tain types of in­form­a­tion must be as­sidu­ously pro­tec­ted,” the aud­it­ors warned. “When a per­son’s ac­tions show evid­ence of un­re­li­ab­il­ity or un­trust­wor­thi­ness, ques­tions arise [about] wheth­er the per­son can be re­lied on to pro­tect clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion.”

Leaks of such data can res­ult in death and “ir­re­par­able dam­age” to na­tion­al se­cur­ity, they wrote. The re­port does not de­tail pre­cise cir­cum­stances un­der which com­mis­sion em­ploy­ees might re­ceive ac­cess to sens­it­ive ma­ter­i­als.

The in­spect­or gen­er­al sep­ar­ately ad­vised the com­mis­sion to be­gin reg­u­larly re­mind­ing staffers of po­ten­tially com­prom­ising situ­ations they must dis­close. Em­ploy­ees presently only re­ceive such a run­down im­me­di­ately after are hired, ac­cord­ing to the as­sess­ment.

Mak­ing sure that per­son­nel take note of the re­mind­ers is also cru­cial, the re­port adds. “NRC is­sues many an­nounce­ments,” but the agency “does not track wheth­er em­ploy­ees are ac­tu­ally read­ing the an­nounce­ments is­sued,” aud­it­ors said.

Seni­or NRC of­fi­cials last week ex­pressed “gen­er­al agree­ment” with the aud­it­ors’ re­com­mend­a­tions, but the re­port does not in­dic­ate wheth­er they plan to im­ple­ment the moves. The IG of­fice on Sept. 12 asked the com­mis­sion’s op­er­a­tions chief to re­port with­in 30 days on any ac­tions be­ing taken in re­sponse to the find­ings.

What We're Following See More »
27TH AMENDMENT
Congress Can’t Seem Not to Pay Itself
48 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Far Away from Cleveland is the California GOP Staying?
1 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Sixty miles away, in Sandusky, Ohio. "We're pretty bitter about that," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."

ATTORNEY MAY RELEASE THEM ANYWAY
SCOTUS Will Not Allow ‘DC Madam’ Phone Records to Be Released
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."

Source:
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
‘SPOOKED’ IN NORTH DAKOTA
Cruz Delegates Having Second Thoughts?
22 hours ago
THE LATEST

As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."

Source:
×