[ISN] Fake Documents Got Workers Into Nuke Plant

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Jun 21 01:54:34 EDT 2005


The Associated Press
June 20, 2005

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Sixteen foreign-born construction workers with 
phony immigration documents were able to enter a nuclear weapons plant 
in eastern Tennessee because of lax security controls, a federal 
report said Monday.

Controls at the Y-12 weapons plant have since been tightened and there 
was no evidence the workers had access to any sensitive documents, 
said the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees 
nuclear weapons facilities for the Department of Energy.

However, the DOE inspector general's office said in the report issued 
Monday that its field agents found "official use only" documents 
"lying unprotected in a construction trailer which was accessed by the 
foreign construction workers" at the plant.

"Thus, these individuals were afforded opportunities to access ... 
(this) information," the inspector general wrote. "We concluded that 
this situation represented a potentially serious access control and 
security problem."

The report, initiated by a tip in 2004, said the workers had fake 
green cards that certified them to work in the United States. Their 
cases were turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
agency for deportation.

The Y-12 plant, created for the top-secret Manhattan Project that 
developed nuclear bombs in World War II, makes parts for nuclear 
warheads and is the country's principal storehouse for weapons-grade 
uranium. The plant in Oak Ridge, about 25 miles west of Knoxville, has 
been criticized for losing keys to sensitive areas and purported 
cheating on security drills, weaknesses that officials say have been 

In response to the foreign workers intrusion at the plant, visitors 
now must provide passports or birth certificates along with other 
background information.

National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Steve Wyatt said 
that agency and managers for Y-12 contractor BWXT became concerned 
earlier this year about the potential for uncleared workers entering a 
construction site within the Y-12 complex, mostly involving steel and 
concrete workers.

He said the case was turned over the IG after investigators confirmed 
that some undocumented workers had access to the area.

The inspector general said it was particularly concerned about 
allowing subcontractors to self-certify the citizenship of their 
employees, and that the Office of Counterintelligence didn't know 
foreign constructions workers were at the Y-12 site until it was 
notified by the inspector general's office.


On the Net:

DOE Inspector General: http://www.ig.doe.gov

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