Pantex to improve security of classified information - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Pantex to improve security of classified information

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: Pantex Source: Pantex
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: Pantex Source: Pantex

An office within the Department of Energy (DEO) recently reviewed the way classified material is disposed of at the Pantex facility.

After a two day investigation the Office of Enterprise Assessments' Office of Enforcement (OEAOE) found three major issues with the operators of Pantex, Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS).  

The first major concern was in regards to the procedures in place to dispose of classified materials.

The report called the current methods, "deficient in both clarity and completeness."

Interviews with Pantex technicians responsible for destroying classified information revealed employees would rely on "tribal knowledge" if the procedures were unclear. This process includes word-of-mouth processes and creating their own rules.

The report also states, "the lack of clear, complete procedural guidance led to an incorrect decision for disposal and resulted an the security incident... The review team is concerned classified information could remain vulnerable to unauthorized disposition."

In total, the review team found four incidents involving classified information placed in unclassified areas. 

Pantex declined an interview but released this statement regarding the DOE's report.

"At Pantex, we are entrusted to safely and securely perform our national security mission. We take the handling of paper disposal of classified information seriously, and it is everyone's job to follow procedures and work rules.

We acknowledge the Office of Enterprise Assessments recommendations and are implementing them into our paper disposal procedures at Pantex.
To add additional defense in depth, we have implemented a more rigorous paper disposal process, establishing clear guidelines for employees. This includes any work-related paper waste and guidance on protection of classified information while on site."

The final issue addressed in the report dealt with the gap in time from when a new employee is trained and when they start. 

Because of the lengthy clearance and processing time, new employees may not remember how to properly dispose of classified materials when the time comes.

The report from the OEAOE concluded with, "this letter imposes no requirements on CNS, and no response is required."

To view the full report click here.

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