More Disks Lost at Los Alamos, Again!

Losing track of secrets is getting to be a nasty habit at the United States' leading nuclear weapons lab. For the third time in just eight months, classified disks have been reported missing at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The latest misplacements triggered another round of bad publicity for an institution that has suffered through a series of scandals in recent years. It once again called into question the security at Los Alamos, a New Mexico facility that is responsible for the upkeep of thousands of the country's nuclear weapons.

On Friday afternoon, Los Alamos officials admitted that two Zip removable hard disks containing secrets from the lab's Weapons Physics Directorate had disappeared. In addition, the lab also temporarily lost track of two other classified external hard drives from the same location, a watchdog group called Project on Government Oversight, or POGO, alleged Wednesday.

According to POGO, two external hard drives were supposed to be used in an unspecified experiment. But lab employees couldn't find the drives -- "an employee had removed those two hard drives without signing them out (and) put them in his pick-up truck," the group said in a statement. The lab quickly found the drives, according to a congressional source. But their short-term misplacement caused lab officials to recheck their classified inventory. That's when they discovered that the two Zip disks had vanished.

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