Security closes part of Los Alamos

The halt was called after officials discovered two items of Classified Removable Electronic Media, including floppy disks and CDs, were found to be missing during an inventory on July 14.

Employees who had access to the missing items are now only being allowed to enter their workplace if accompanied by a security escort.

An indefinite suspension has been palced on secret work, to provide for staff retraining and the introduction of other new measures aimed at boosting crucial security measures.

America’s federal agency overseeing the lab has also sent a team to Los Alamos, in western state of New Mexico, to investigate the incident.

The data loss is reportedly the third such mishap at the 61-year-old facility, which rose to international prominence during the World War II race to build the first atomic bomb.

Classified material was lost in May in what authorities said may have been a purge of old information, but that its destruction had not been recorded on their files.

In December last year, lab officials said 10 computer disks had also been misplaced at the facility.

A spokesman for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) reportedly said that the latest breach was much more serious than the previous two, and constitutes a national security risk.

“This is a serious problem… The material in question was currently in use,” Kevin Roark of LANL told the Daily Texan.

For the first time in the laboratory’s history, the management contract for Los Alamos has been put up for bid.

The University of California, which has run the facility since its inception, could lose out to a rival university amid concerns about ongoing security lapses.

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