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82-Year-Old Nun Breaks Into Nuclear Facility, Contractors Blamed 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-read-the-headline-again dept.
Lasrick writes "Private security contractors strike again, this time at the Y-12 National Security Complex. A nun, a gardener, and a housepainter cut through three security fences to find themselves 20 feet away from highly dangerous nuclear material. And of course, only one guard has been fired (the one who arguably acted the bravest and did the right thing). A Department of Energy report (PDF) on the incident found 'troubling displays of ineptitude in responding to alarms, failures to maintain critical 2 security equipment, over reliance on compensatory measures, misunderstanding of security protocols, poor communications, and weaknesses in contract and resource management.' The contractors have been put on notice, (PDF), but they still have the contracts."
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82-Year-Old Nun Breaks Into Nuclear Facility, Contractors Blamed

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  • I'm confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:15PM (#41530145)

    Private security contractors strike again

    Are you implying that if the security were nationalized (ala TSA) that such ineptitude would not exist?

    Why the explicit blame on "private security contractors"? Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

    • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:23PM (#41530259)

      TSA servers the purpose, it was designed to serve, very well. If the TSA were to be put in-charge of nuclear material and made clear of its purpose, I am sure it will do well.

      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Krojack (575051) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:30PM (#41530379)

        TSA servers the purpose, it was designed to serve, very well. If the TSA were to be put in-charge of nuclear material and made clear of its purpose, I am sure it will do well.

        Say what? So you're telling me that they won't steal nuclear material and when caught try to blame it on the wife? [youtu.be]

        • It would be easy to track. Even the TSA thugs know better than that. Besides the people selected for the job would obviously be better than the current TSA agents. You need real security, not security theater for nuclear materials.

      • You're absolutely right. It's a way to divert public funds into black holes through poor deals. Stuff like scanners comes to mind.

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:31PM (#41530389)

      Private security contractors strike again

      Are you implying that if the security were nationalized (ala TSA) that such ineptitude would not exist?

      Uh, yeah. Or at least that's what the report claims somewhere around page 6. Makes sense to me!

      Thus, physical security systems and security personnel were managed by completely different organizations. The fractured management structure appeared to have led to conflicting priorities

      Now a nationalized or centralized management or whatever you want to call it can be utterly incompetent for entirely different reasons, look at the TSA. But it wouldn't have conflicting priorities unless they were dumb enough to intentionally bake that into the cake.

      Thats the problem with "just give it to the private sector". There's a zillion private sector companies and they often (or at least occasionally) don't work together very well.

      • by Krojack (575051)

        Thats the problem with "just give it to the private sector". There's a zillion private sector companies and they often (or at least occasionally) don't work together very well.

        I would also argue that various branches or sections of government don't work together very well either.

        • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rmstar (114746) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:45PM (#41530585)

          I would also argue that various branches or sections of government don't work together very well either.

          Corporate bureaucracy tends to be deranged in worse ways than state bureaucracy.

          Modern, western countries can do very well in comparison. there is a lot to be improved, of course, but worship of the private sector is not warranted in this respect.

          • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:22PM (#41531145) Journal

            Corporate bureaucracy tends to be deranged in worse ways than state bureaucracy..

            ...says the man who has never had to work with the VA Medical System, the DMV, etc...

            Half-jokes aside, there is one diff between a deranged corporation and a deranged government department: You can tell the deranged corporate department to piss off, or take them to court if their actions warrant it. Try doing that to a governmental entity and see how far that gets you.

            Even if your hypothesis were 100% correct in every aspect, a half-deranged government bureau is a hell of a lot more dangerous to individual rights and freedoms than a completely apeshit company.

            Something about having the force of law backing up the mental trouble that makes it at least two orders of magnitude more disturbing, truth be told.

            • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Informative)

              by daem0n1x (748565) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @06:06PM (#41531603)

              I don't know how things happen in the USA, but in my country top managers swing from public to private jobs as they see fit. It's not unusual that they seat at some public position, decide to privatise some public service and then sell it to a company they'll be managing after some time. And the said service always becomes worse and more expensive, even when it already sucked before. And the said managers can fuck up as much as they want that they'll never be made accountable for anything, whether they did it in a public office or private one. You just have to reach a particular level in the hierarchy and you're basically inimputable. As far as I know, it happens in the US, too.

              half-deranged government bureau is a hell of a lot more dangerous to individual rights and freedoms than a completely apeshit company.

              I guess that one you just completely made up.

              • Perhaps it should say "bureaucrat" instead of "bureau", but the point still stands. As evidence, I present to you such wonders as Child Protective Services, Contempt of Court, and various other bureaus and concepts where force of law has been both used and abused to extend vendettas, incompetence, and worse - with little-to-no repercussion against the instigator of the fault.

                And the said managers can fuck up as much as they want that they'll never be made accountable for anything, whether they did it in a public office or private one. You just have to reach a particular level in the hierarchy and you're basically inimputable

                Not necessarily:

                * If a fuck-up angered shareholders or really hurt the company's public image, the private manager can be fired as fas

            • by rmstar (114746)

              ...says the man who has never had to work with the VA Medical System, the DMV, etc...

              Ah, but thats the US. You people can't seem to get government even halfway right, for some weird reason. I'm not even going to mention gun control.

              Half-jokes aside, there is one diff between a deranged corporation and a deranged government department: You can tell the deranged corporate department to piss off, or take them to court if their actions warrant it.

              What planet are you livling on? I don't think it is the same as m

          • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Pseudonym (62607) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @10:25PM (#41533707)

            Corporate bureaucracy tends to be deranged in worse ways than state bureaucracy.

            My experience, having worked in both, is that this is 100% correct.

            State bureaucracy tends to be incompetent, and its principal failure mode is failing to do anything and coming up with excuses why it never does anything. Corporate bureaucracy, by contrast, tends to be nefarious, and its principal failure mode is committing pure distilled evil and covering up for said evil.

            If I had to, I know which one I'd pick.

      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @07:04PM (#41532119)
        It wasn't that long ago that the US military used to secure these sites, rather than Joe's Security Guards And BBQ Pit. I'd rather see the grunts doing something boring though useful here at home rather than getting shot at somewhere they never should have been sent.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:02PM (#41530871) Journal

      Private security contractors strike again

      Are you implying that if the security were nationalized (ala TSA) that such ineptitude would not exist?

      Why the explicit blame on "private security contractors"? Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

      Probably has to do with this quote and link from the article:

      The obvious problems that result from so much contractor freedom are made clear by the recent inspector general report, which determined that this lack of federal oversight at least partially contributed to the success of the break-in [energy.gov] PDF: "When questioned as to why action was not taken to address growing maintenance backlogs, Federal officials told us that with the advent of NNSA's contractor governance system (Contractor Assurance System), they could no longer intervene." In light of these findings, the inspector general had serious questions about the Energy Department's overall approach and determined that "current initiatives to reduce Federal oversight of the nuclear weapons complex, especially as they relate to security functions, need to be carefully considered."

      There are many forms of nationalized security: some very bad (TSA) and some very good (National Guard). Private industry will save you money and, when pitted against each other in true capitalism form, they will cut corners to win contracts. Somethings should have security independent of how the economy is doing or how low some no talent ass clown is willing to bid on a contract.

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Harperdog (1754264) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:13PM (#41531015)
      Actually, the point for me is, rather, not that nationalized security would be better, per se (although I think ThatsMyNick's point is well taken), but that the constant calls for privatizing things that shouldn't be privatized is really ridiculous. Companies exist to make money, and they do that by keeping costs low wherever they can, even if it means low beyond the point of reason...beyond the point of doing a good job. True, I suppose the company would eventually be fired, but only after a huge mistake (as we see here). When we are talking about national security, and a few other things I can think of, that isn't such a good idea.
      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @07:37PM (#41532409)

        When I read TFA, I interpreted "contractor" to mean the contractor operating the Y-12 facility, not the rentacops. Y-12 is run by B&W Y12, a partnership of the Babcock & Wilcox Company and Bechtel Corporation. They probably don't employ guards directly, but employ some private security outfit to provide them. I thought the criticism was leveled at B&W for the management failure, rather than at the rentacops.

        • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @09:15PM (#41533167)
          (posting anonymously as I work for B&W)

          Correct. B&W and Bechtel manage the site. The security contract was given to a different company. B&W Y12 was ultimately responsible for the contractor, and as a result the President and Deputy General Manager of B&W Y12 have both "retired" [babcock.com]. They aren't the only ones. B&W manages a number of nuclear/radioactive sites for the government and owns facilities that build and fuel reactors for the Navy. This incident hasn't gone over well inside the company, especially considering the security inside B&W's facilities is extremely robust compared to the Y12 contractor.

          B&W Y12 has now terminated the contract with WSI (the security contractor) and has started the process of taking over the security.
    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:14PM (#41531019) Homepage Journal

      Why not fire any private company who is not doing their job and find one that can/will?

      The problem you get is that there is a seriously limited selection of 'private' companies that are qualified for guarding a nuclear plant. There's a semi-limited number of people capable of it as well, given that they have to be willing to work for decent(but not high) pay, while being able to get a security clearance(and handle automatic weapons) and meet the physical requirements(shooting accuracy, fitness, etc...). You're pretty much restricted to ex-military.

      Having some knowledge of government type contracting, it's been my experience that you can have the contractor change, but the people in the contract seats stay the same - with the loss of the contract, the original contractor no longer needs the people, thus lays them off(excess). The NEW contractor needs people to fulfill the contract, and wait - there's people XYZ with years of experience in the role, in the local area, has the necessary clearance($$$), etc... Hired!

      The contracted employees themselves have to brush off their resume and re-interview for their job, but it's normally a formality. They might get ~2-3 weeks of 'vacation' where they get unemployment, and a day or two of orientation on how their new employer(the actual contractor).

      After all that, I have to say that I'd rather keep the function in house. Reasons:
      1. It's not a wide field, more of a specialist position with only a couple hundred plants in the states.
      2. It's a continuous stable requirement. Contracts are for temporary things(like renovating a building, upgrading a network, etc...)

      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mianne (965568) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:36AM (#41535269)

        Not to mention, the actual rank and file guards are probably the ones least responsible for allowing this security breach to progress as far as it did. They are trained to respond to the alarms and/or suspicious activity observed on monitors. They would not be responsible for ensuring the cameras and alarm systems are in proper working order. They probably are supposed to report systems which are not working at all or are malfunctioning.

        When equipment has been offline for months or years despite numerous reports, you can expect them to become demoralized--that their reports are falling on deaf ears. Moreover, as TFS notes, the lone officer who put his life at risk to apprehended the intruders, was summarily terminated. You can bet that any guard who dared going over their immediate supervisor's head to see that the alarm and CCTV systems were fixed would also be sacked.

        Blaming the guards in this case is exactly like blaming the miners for a mine collapse or explosion. In both cases it is the company owners, and their federal regulator lapdogs who are clearly responsible. These guards may very well all be laid off/terminated by G4S and then immediately rehired by Pinkerton Govt. Services or another similar firm qualified to secure nuclear facilities. You can also bet on a lucrative contract being given to fortify intrusion prevention and detection systems and that everything will be working in top order for the next couple of years--It's what happens after that, that matters.

        As cameras begin to fail, as alarm points begin to malfunction and cause endless false alarms; will these issues continue to be promptly corrected, or will they end up on the back burner as such maintenance requests get mired in a byzantine bureaucratic system and disagreements surface as to whether the security contractors must pick up the tab, or if it's to be reimbursed by the fed. Meanwhile the guards will continue to see that being the squeaky wheel gets you fired--being a whistleblower gets you arrested, and it will again be safer and less stressful to spend your entire shift in the breakroom than carry out the perimeter patrols every 15 minutes.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      You're right, it isn't private security that's inept. It's outsourced security that's inept. Or at least it is when keeping cost down is the primary consideration — which is usually the reason for outsourcing.

    • Should obviously be secured by soldiers, since there is no private company that can invest enough in training or maintain the highest level of discipline. Of course there would probably end up being photos on the internet of the soldiers peeing on the nuclear warheads or shooting the nun from a helicopter...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:15PM (#41530149)

    Sounds like the start of a joke, "A nun, a gardener, and a house painter go into a nuclear facility..."

  • I'm totally picturing this happening like it's an episode of the Simpsons in my head.
  • OK, seriously ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Infernal Device (865066) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:20PM (#41530217)

    Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

    Admittedly, he didn't shoot anyone, which he was apparently entitled to do, but at the same time, he actually stopped any further mischief and was the only person (aside from the protesters) who didn't embarrass the whole nation.

    It's a pity Joseph Heller isn't around to write his life story or something.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:26PM (#41530323)

      Because the honest and competent man is the safest one to fire -- the incompetent and dishonest ones usually got the job in the first place by knowing someone powerful or having dirt on someone.

      • by Grog6 (85859)

        This is exactly how this works; Jobs are passed down thru generations of ineptness.

        I live near there; Everyone I know that works there got their job thru their relatives.

    • Re:OK, seriously ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Urban Garlic (447282) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:33PM (#41530399)

      According to the linked-to DOE report, the guy who was fired wasn't quite as brave as the Bulletin article implies -- the DOE says he drove up to the site, stayed in his car and spoke on his cell phone with a supervisor, then got out of the car and just chatted with the protesters, failing to detain them or protect his weapon. When the supervisor arrived, the guard was instructed to provide cover for the supervisor while the supervisor made the actual arrests, but the guard did not do so, allegedly turning his back on the process at one point.

      DOE report here [energy.gov] (warning, PDF).

      It's obviously a contested point, but the pictures painted by the Bulletin article and the DOE report of the guard's conduct are rather different.

      Also, yes, I read both articles, new here, etc.etc.

      • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:39PM (#41530487)

        The fact that you anticipated the accusation that you are new here, by admitting that you are new here, suggests that you are not new here.

      • Re:OK, seriously ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Psyborgue (699890) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:45PM (#41530589) Homepage Journal
        According to the nun, if you read the article, he did not turn his back. It is a contested point and I wonder where they're getting that information. I tend to believe the nun over the government contractor.
      • by Firethorn (177587)

        While perhaps not brave, staying in the vehicle to inform supervision is smart. What if he got ambushed while outside the vehicle BEFORE raising the alarm? It's a bit like first aid - first you call for help(get the ambulances rolling), then you administer first aid/stop the intruders.

        I know that I wouldn't want to arrest 3 people, even if they're old, when they're armed with potential HtH weapons(hammers and such), with me being the only person. The vast majority of nuclear intruders aren't violent, but

        • I agree. Going on your own against a group of people without notifying anyone first is just plain stupid. First you notify someone else, then you go. He even went before the others arrived. So he didn't shoot anyone, just held them there until they were arrested. Well that is what he is supposed to do. You don't usually shoot trespassers just for the heck of it. Not unless you have a bloody good reason for doing it like being in danger yourself.
    • The worst part is they fired him for allegedly tuning his back on the trio who say he never did such a thing. To bad the camera's were not working to prove it.

    • Re:OK, seriously ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:36PM (#41530441) Homepage

      This is hardly the first time that a low-level employee has unfairly taken the rap for the mistakes / sleaze of upper management.

      Consider, for instance, Richard Jewell [wikipedia.org], who discovered a pipe bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, saved the lives of a couple hundred people, and then had his name dragged through the mud by journalists who'd decided that he'd planted the bomb himself (he hadn't).

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:40PM (#41530509)

      Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

      Young grasshopper, when you have learned why managers punish people for bringing mistakes to the attention of their supervisors, it will be time for you to join the workforce. I've been fired several times for bringing security faults through appropriate channels -- in truth, management doesn't want to know about security problems and punish those who point them out, because once pointed out, plausible deniability goes out the window. You're making it their problem, and if there's no budget for said problem your paycheck becomes the budget for solving it. It makes them look bad and holds back their promotion opportunities -- and so while you may do the right thing, it's almost always a bad career move.

      Politics. It'll fuck you every time.

      • Re:OK, seriously ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Kittenman (971447) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:04PM (#41530903)

        Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

        Young grasshopper, when you have learned why managers punish people for bringing mistakes to the attention of their supervisors, it will be time for you to join the workforce. I've been fired several times for bringing security faults through appropriate channels -- in truth, management doesn't want to know about security problems and punish those who point them out, because once pointed out, plausible deniability goes out the window. You're making it their problem, and if there's no budget for said problem your paycheck becomes the budget for solving it. It makes them look bad and holds back their promotion opportunities -- and so while you may do the right thing, it's almost always a bad career move.

        Politics. It'll fuck you every time.

        True - I one time took over minding the evening batchwork at a client site. Problems most nights, which I slowly ironed out. Management asked why all these problems since [kittenman] took over the batch. Turns out the previous guy had been fixing them on the fly and not reporting the issues.

        My contract wasn't renewed.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:41PM (#41530533) Journal

      Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

      If he's the only person doing his job then that means his superiors that fired him also were not doing their job correctly -- their correct job being to fire the people who had failed through inaction. So, in order to maintain his status of being the only person who did his job, he would have to be fired otherwise his superiors might be misconstrued as doing their job correctly. This is all very simple Dilbert 101.

    • Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job...

      Precisely because:

      ... everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

      The company was asked why it shouldn't be fired. They suck and had no plan, but by firing someone they could appear to be "taking action". Buy why the guy who did something? I'm not really sure how that logic works. Probably claimed he should have found the intruders sooner - obviously it was his area to patrol since he found th

    • by vlm (69642)

      Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job

      His job was to follow procedures. The procedures were pretty good, assuming camera coverage of the area. Needless to say the cameras are often / usually broken.
      He invented his own solution to the lack of camera coverage by basically turning himself into a forward observer.
      Boss not amused because that very publicly points out the procedures are inadequate and the equipment not up to requirements, and doing that is also not a procedure.
      So that's two strikes right there.
      You can imagine a guy who was set up t

    • by knarf (34928)

      Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

      Because they could not kick the blame any lower, of course. CEO suit kicks it to second in command who kicks it to section head who kicks it to department head who kicks it to location manager who kicks it to team leader who kicks it to guard. Guard is one of those who do the actual work all the suits reap their salaries from so he has nobody to ki

    • by tsa (15680)

      If he fired at the intruders they had a reason to fire him. Look first, then shoot if necessary.

    • That's why he was fired; he left the protesters alive, to give their story of how freaking easy it was.

      If he'd shot them all, it would have been spun very differently, I'm sure; people would still be looking for the missing protesters, and a "terrorist group" would have been the aggressor, all killed in the attempt.

      The Nun in question fell down during a TV interview at the Blount Co. Courthouse, and broke both wrists. :)

      I grew up in OR, moved years ago, upwind. :)

      In our drunkest hours, we never would have t

    • by rmstar (114746)

      Why in the name of Oppenheimer did they fire the one guy who actually did his job, when everyone above and around him appeared to fail pretty seriously at theirs?

      Because the nuclear industry is a particularly pathetic and miserable heap of shit.

      How much were they paying him for watching over the security of a nuclear plant? Most likely a pittance.

  • is that the guard who encountered the intruders was fired.

    There will be a small flap, and exchange of letters, self-righteous speeches, and it will be back to bidness as usual, which is to say what comes out of this will be slip-shod, ineffective, pretty on paper, and a few highers will make more money.

  • Seriously, I've heard that many of them have started making a little extra doing espionage for foreign governments - to feed their habits.

  • um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      They probably thought what the nuns thought: that they would fail. Plus -- all the nuns ever did was make it to a locked building. Getting nuclear material out of that building without being detected and getting away would probably not be so easy. Even if you had such material, what could you do with it? From a terrorist's perspective, it's a lot easier to do something random, that costs a lot less, and takes a lot less planning -- shoot up a building or blow something up.
      • by rastos1 (601318)

        Even if you had such material, what could you do with it?

        Spread the terror. In fact this example shows that nuclear facilities are populated with morons. That is terrifying ... or not, if you are cynic like me. Did you meet a competent person this week? month? year? I didn't.

    • by rvw (755107)

      um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

      Maybe because they are stupid enough not to have thought of this. Maybe because they are smart enough to realise that walking into a nuclear facility is not enough to do some real damage. If you walk in there, you need a good plan, like the one they had in New York. And probably "they" aren't either smart or stupid, but we have stupid terrorists, the ones that are probably caught before doing real damage, and the smart ones... who knows...

    • by vlm (69642)

      um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

      From reading the report, which is pretty interesting, the best slashdot car analogy I can come up with is that if this was a car crash it would be about as severe as a headon collision with a mosquito, or maybe some bird droppings. Even better, say you wanted to steal a car out of the showroom. Well, these guys got as far as jumping the perimeter fence. There's a little more to accomplish before the joyride can begin.

      Defense in depth, quite a bit of depth for something this important.... and they got thr

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        Well, these guys got as far as jumping the perimeter fence. There's a little more to accomplish before the joyride can begin.

        Not to mention that 99% of 'these guys' fail to get past said perimeter fence. The pros KNOW they can beat the perimeter fence. It's the last 20 feet, and getting away, that concerns them.

      • Defense in depth, quite a bit of depth for something this important.... and they got thru ... drum roll.... one fence....

        Well, according to TFA, they not only made it through not one but three fences, they never would have been noticed had they not banged on the side of the main facility with a hammer ( after taking time to hang a couple banners, splash some fake blood and Bible verses about).

        The real question I have is, why would anyone, yourself included, be an apologist for what is quite obviously (even to the casual observer) a gross breach of what should be one of the most secure facilities in the world?

        Not just b

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Because you only get one attempt at something like this, and if you are a real terrorist you go to jail when caught so can't try again somewhere else. Therefore opportunistic attacks or ones based on only a moderate chance of success are not very attractive for terrorism.

    • by isorox (205688)

      um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

      Because there aren't thy many people willing to attack nuclear reactors for a cause, no matter what the media tells you

    • Well the terrorists only act in ways that advance our military and business interests. If they attacked a nuclear facility, people might begin to realize that no matter the difference in current efficiency; solar and wind don't blow up when contractors cut corners.

      Al Qaeda his very helpful to the CIA and FBI in making sure they can invade countries, or limit the Constitution.

      Hopefully you can now add up all the mysteries of why our bogus security costs so much but accomplishes so little beyond spying on cit

    • um... if security is so lax, why aren't all those terrorists out there taking advantage of these security lapses? something doesn't add up here.

      Too busy with their election campaigns, obviously.

  • by bravecanadian (638315) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:36PM (#41530435)

    and the profit motive at work.. it really brings a tear to the eye when I consider how well unregulated private industry can solve these problems that governments just waste money on!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If security is this lax in the US, what's it like in other countries long forgotten stockpiles?

  • If the guard force had responded properly, there would be dead bodies. The people approaching the facility had cut through three fences and had backpacks which could have contained explosives. Shooting them was authorized. But the IG report doesn't admit that.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Just because you are allowed do something, that doesn't mean you should do that something.

      It was a bunch of out of work senior citizens, their ring leader is a fucking nun, there is no reason to shoot these people even though the guard may be allowed to.

    • by rvw (755107)

      If the guard force had responded properly, there would be dead bodies. The people approaching the facility had cut through three fences and had backpacks which could have contained explosives. Shooting them was authorized.
      But the IG report doesn't admit that.

      Yeah, let's shoot them! That would have been the proper solution. [/sarcasm] If the guard is authorized to shoot them, it doesn't mean he has to. The guard did the proper thing here.

    • Not really. That trio is there every year around August 5th. They are well-known to everyone in the area and to the security staff. I'd say the risk of discharging a firearm would be greater than the risk of a bomb being in the bag. And then there's a whole other sort of fall-out from shooting a nun.
      • And then there's a whole other sort of fall-out from shooting a nun.

        True dat.

        Even La Cosa Nostra knows better than to fuck with the Brides of Christ.

  • Not Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:53PM (#41530717)
    And this is why I heavily oppose leaving matters of security, safety, or health completely in the hands of one or more private companies. These three areas are rarely ever cost-effective and they're not meant to be. The reason we have these services in the first place is because people feel that they are valuable to the well-being of individuals as well as society as a whole, not because there is necessarily an economic benefit. I'm not opposed to having private companies involved in these three areas, but I believe there needs to be strict standards on the quality of service they provide, strong government oversight to make sure they're operating up to those standards, and repercussions for failing to meet the standards.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @04:54PM (#41530735)

    It doesn't sound as sensational after reading TFA.

    • by tomhath (637240)

      Yea, first the author has no way of knowing if it was 20 feet or 200 yards or if there was actually anything on the other side of the wall. And even then it was inside a very, very solid building and very, very solid containers.

      I recall reading a similar article about some activists who claimed they had broken into a facility and stolen a "warhead". Turned out they had dumpster dived and taken some scrap metal that was part of a heat shield. This article has all the same hype.

  • Wasn't there some news recently about record numbers of unemployed veterans? Kick the private contractors out and bring in a bunch of people with security clearance and guard duty experience.
    • The only two unemployed veterans that I know have more than one missing limb. Also, the private contractor is easier to sue/go after when something goes wrong than a mass of human beings who duck and cover when they hear a firecracker go off... or a Major Payne type individual who wants to take your mind off that pain! It may be unfair, but life is unfair
  • by mu51c10rd (187182) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:02PM (#41530879)

    Perhaps she was searching for nuclear wessels?

  • ...was that the nun was 8 months pregnant under that habit.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:18PM (#41531083) Homepage
    s/nun/muslim\ woman/ relatively similar attire, devotion to religious purity and god. The reaction i suspect would however have been to close the nuclear facility, seal off the town, arrest the security guards, quarantine the state as a no-fly zone, burn the constitution and start a war with next->countryOn($list);
  • Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said, "The department has no tolerance for security breaches at any of our sites, and I am committed to ensure that those responsible will be held accountable."

    you're a nun, you say? Well thanks for the free security assessment. In return, heres some biblical retribution.

  • I lived in that area, and these people were in the news every year around August 5th (the Hiroshima anniversary). They and a lot of others gather to protest outside Y-12. You might look for better coverage in the local press, like the Knoxville News Sentinel. The linked article seems to exaggerate a bit, or at least to overstate the situation. At any rate, these people aren't violent, so far, and aren't likely to be, and I doubt they were actually near any "nuclear material," unless you're talking about the
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @05:59PM (#41531543)

    Friend of a friend was a hacker who got that dream job: Security compliance at the Texas nuclear plants.

    After he:
    1) Fooled them into letting him in by carrying a box and asking them to hold the door.
    2) Punched into a secure room by going through two sheets of sheetrock.
    3) Punched into a "steel clad" area by showing the "steel" was easily cut with a hacksaw.
    4) climbed out of the "man trap" within 30 seconds of being "trapped"
    5) fooled employees into giving various passwords and access to secure areas..

    and a half dozen other weaknesses...

    They posted his PICTURE and told employees to be sure to keep an eye out for the security compliance guy.

    They didn't really want to fix the problems.

    Nuke plants are apparently mostly security through obscurity and bluffing.

  • This isn't the first time in recent years this has happened... in 2009, protestors broke into SWFPAC [kitsapsun.com] at Naval Base Kitsap... which is where the USN keeps both D5 missiles and their warheads.

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