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US Nuclear Weapons Lab Loses 67 Computers 185

Posted by timothy
from the unlocated-is-doubleplus-good-doublespeak dept.
pnorth writes "Officials from New Mexico's Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory have confessed that 67 of its computers are missing, with no less than 13 of them having disappeared over the past year alone. A memo [PDF] leaked by the Project on Government Oversight watchdog brought the lost nuclear laptops to the public's attention, but the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration dismissed fears the computers contained highly-sensitive or classified information, noting it was more likely to cause 'cybersecurity issues.' Three of the 13 computers which went missing in the past year were stolen from a scientist's home on January 16 and the memo also mentioned a BlackBerry belonging to another staff member had been lost 'in a sensitive foreign country.' The labs faced similar issues back in 2003 when 22 laptops were designated as being 'unlocated.'"
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US Nuclear Weapons Lab Loses 67 Computers

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  • better than... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spandex_panda (1168381) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:29PM (#26833949)
    I guess causing 'cybersecurity issues' is better than 'nuclear warfare issues'.
    • by Rei (128717) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:34PM (#26834035) Homepage

      "Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory and Taco Stand: Come for the Nukes; stay for the tacos. "

      Announcer: "If we lose your sensitive nuclear secrets, your next contract is FREEEEEE!!!!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        "Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory and Taco Stand: Come for the Nukes; stay for the tacos. "

        You'd betta believe it. It's worth staying for the tacos. Visit the "Hot Rocks" cafe if you're ever over there. The tacos are very good.

        • They cross the unprotected border from Mexico, bribe a couple workers, then smuggle the computer south so they can be sold to either Mexico politicians or Al Queda operatives (or both).

          • by linzeal (197905)
            I doubt many Al Queda folks know what QED is, let alone at an advanced level to be anything but dangerous to themselves.
        • by n6kuy (172098)

          Just don't plan to park within half a mile of the place.
          Viola's is good, too.

    • by LilGuy (150110)

      It's also better than causing "national security issues"... surely someone would notice if Americans started getting locked up at Guantanamo..

  • by rts008 (812749) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:31PM (#26833985) Journal

    Check the resident BOFH's stash closet...he will probably cut you a good deal on buying them back if you ask nice.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)
      Anyone want some cheap hardware? It's not cutting edge, but you don't need to put any lights in it either...
  • I hope they take more care of their plutonium than they do of their computers!

  • Euphanisms? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hplus (1310833)
    What "cybersecurity issues" could arise that do not involve sensitive secrets to be leaked?
  • by Orange Crush (934731) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:34PM (#26834041)
    At least they didn't lose any nukes.
  • by djupedal (584558) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:34PM (#26834045)

    How many times have I told you guys... first you short the receivables and then you steal the goods. Damn govt. employees can't even get a simple thing like scraping off the top right.

  • Anyone RTFA? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by conureman (748753) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:37PM (#26834095)

    Which "sensitive foreign country"?

  • This doesn't jive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hordeking (1237940) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:40PM (#26834131)

    three of the 13 computers which went missing in the past year were stolen from a scientist's home

    Either this guy gets robbed a lot, or he's been stealing laptops.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      All three were stolen on the same date (January 16th), but as the article points out, the more disturbing fact is that only one of the three was authorized for home use.

      • I'm curious wtf he needs 3 laptops for, regardless of what they're registered for. I'm really trying and I can't fathom one possible use that a single person would have for three laptops at the same time.
    • by dodobh (65811)

      Or he lost three in a single instance?

  • by mcfatboy93 (1363705) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:40PM (#26834141) Homepage

    Project on Government Oversight watchdog brought the lost nuclear laptops to the public's attention

    so now they have nuclear laptops. WOW and mine still runs solar power.

  • Unlocated (Score:2, Funny)

    by chekk4 (1367067)
    That's it. My computer is not "lost"; it is merely "unlocated".
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:58PM (#26834493) Homepage

    What would be the estimated half-life of the battery? They've been holding out on us!

  • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:08PM (#26834675)

    National Nuclear Security Administration dismissed fears the computers contained highly-sensitive or classified information...

    He explained that the NNSA has lists of highly sensitive and classified information, and none of the laptops appear on those lists. At least, none of the laptops appear on their remaining lists.

    -Loyal

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:09PM (#26834705) Homepage

    This never would have happened back in the good old days of the Princeton IAS machine. [ucdavis.edu] People took good care of their computers then. And kept track of them. You never would have caught a scientist taking one home.

    And children respected their parents, and a dollar was a dollar, and we had wonderful music--not this modern stuff, it's noise, I tell you, just noise.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ca111a (1078961)
      And computers were made of tubes! Not like these Internets today. oh, wait...
  • Cybersecurity Issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hordeking (1237940) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:11PM (#26834741)

    noting it was more likely to cause 'cybersecurity issues.'

    This is a no-duh! type statement. Since actual classified material wasn't obtained, somehow the problem is less severe, right? After all, those 'cybersecurity issues' would never be used for anything as piddly as obtaining classified information.

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the point of espionage?

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:14PM (#26834789)
    scores of intelligence personnel descended on all the pawn shops in Oklahoma. [softpedia.com] Also all New Zealanders in the US were understandably nervous. :P
  • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:15PM (#26834813)
    The Air Force can't keep track of the weapons, Los Alamos can't keep track of the technical data, why is Iran spending money to develop nuclear technology? The way we keep up with our shit, they could probably just get it off Ebay.
    • Hell, they did.
      Fighter parts for fighters sold to Shah.
      Duh!
      In the future we can expect them to get bid on Black Hawk helicopters and Blackwater guards. After all blackwater is mercenary. So...am just saying its possible.

  • ... One computer at a time ...
  • by plopez (54068) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:19PM (#26834875) Journal

    New Mexico is a hot bed of drug smuggling and gang activity. IIRC a few years ago they raided a trailer of some employees for drugs and came up with stolen computer gear.

    No international spy conspiracy, just people selling stolen goods to get high.

    Still, this is really lax security in an area rife with crime.

  • by jfb2252 (1172123) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:26PM (#26835029)

    There are ~14000 employees at LANL. I'd guess 20,000 laptop and desktop machines. 0.1% loss per year isn't bad. There's nothing in the article to say when the other 67 might have fallen off the radar.

  • should just cut power to the city and see who's house emits a green glow.
  • The "missing" computers were cannibalized for parts for the other computers.

    It's a farce really, considering the Chinese already stole our nuclear secrets from Bush.

  • I wonder how many laptops got confiscated by the TSA/Boarder Patrol when arriving back on US shores.

  • ... "US computer lab loses 67 nuclear weapons".

    Phew. I guess it's not time to head to the vault just yet.

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