Energy Asking for Millions for Security

WASHINGTON (06/14/2000) - The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in the fiscal 2001 budget to dramatically increase security at its defense facilities.

Even before the latest breach of security was disclosed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, chief information officer John Gilligan said the request was part of the appropriations process to make major security improvements at strategic locations.

Among the facilities he would like to upgrade are Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico and the national laboratory in Rome, New York.

In an interview, Gilligan said the exact amount of the request is currently classified, but it is not part of the so-called "black budget" for security measures. He said the money would be used for measures such as a secure Internet link between DOE headquarters and the field and secure video for teleconferences.

At the House Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, committee members expressed dismay that not enough money had been allocated for security at DOE in the wake of last year's spy scandal involving scientist Wen Ho Lee.

Eugene E. Habiger, director of the DOE's Office of Security and Emergency Operations, acknowledged that more money and better organization is needed to combat the problem.

"If we had received adequate funding, our performance would have been better," he told the panel.

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