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.
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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.
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."
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."
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."
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."