Lab Workers Looting the Plant
Dismember Los Alamos

Think back to the Chinese American scientist Wen Ho Lee, who was held in solitary confinement for nine months under suspicion of being a spy. The basis of this accusation was that he had transferred classified computer codes from a secure system at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked, to unclassified computers and then to portable cassette tapes—presumably a rare breach of security.

But in a recent report, prepared by the lab's chief financial officer, Los Alamos reveals that its employees seem to play fast and loose with gear from this highly secret atomic research institute. Last month Los Alamos fired two of the key whistle-blowing employees who brought the lab's widespread fraud and theft to public attention.

Here's a sampling of the 141 items (in all, worth $1.3 million) listed as lost or stolen:

  • Personal computer ($3467)
  • Printer ($11,037)
  • DVD recorder ($450)
  • Power transformer ($9290)
  • Still camera ($600)
  • Workstation ($9750)
  • Leak detector ($18,685)
  • Printer ($473)
  • Handheld computer ($371)
  • Digital camera ($869)

  • Additional reporting: Rebecca Winsor and Josh Saltzman

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