Auditors Urge NRC to Tighten Personnel Security Checks

Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
Add to Briefcase
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 »
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
2 days ago
THE LATEST
AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED CONSIDERATION
Senate Rejects Effort to Nix SALT Tax Changes
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."

Source:
INTERVIEWED BY COMMITTEE STAFF
Lewandowski Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."

Source:
FISHING EXPEDITION
Some Members Seek to Wrap Up Russia Investigations by Year’s End
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."

Source:
WROTE LAW THAT WEAKENED OPIOID OVERSIGHT
Trump: Marino Withdrawing Nomination for Drug Czar
5 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login