Brooks Hid Hacker Penetration of NNSA Computers
Unidentified hackers broke into National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) computers at Kirkland Air Force Base and stole the personal data of some 1,500 workers and contractors from throughout the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear complex.
NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within DOE. It maintains and enhances the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons.
The security breach was announced at a recent hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It was not until almost a year after the theft and after the addition of further security measures that the break-in was even discovered by DOE.
At the hearing DOE officials reported that no classified nuclear weapons information was stolen. However at the same time, Glenn Podonsky, head of DOE's Office of Security and Safety Performance Assurance, said subsequent testing had revealed that there were major holes in DOE's cyber-security. He reported that during testing, computer personnel were able to break into and take control of the computer network at one DOE site. After hacking into the initial site, they were able to take control of the networks at several other sites. His experts then had access to employee data, sensitive scientific and nuclear data and the ability to monitor messages between DOE executives.
Although the theft was discovered eight months ago and the testing had occurred last year, NNSA Director Linton Brooks had not informed cyber-security officials, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, Congress or the affected employees about the break-in until recently. Committee Chair Representative Joe Barton said, "I would hope you resign before you have to be removed from office."
Mayors Ask Governments That No City Be Made A Nuclear Target
The US Conference of Mayors recently adopted a resolution which asks the Russian, Chinese, and United States governments to assure one another and civilians that they will not, under any circumstances, target a city with a nuclear weapon. The resolution condemned targeting any city or civilian population center for attack in any way and asserted that nuclear weapons are inherently immoral. The June 5 vote on this resolution was unanimous.
The resolution is part of the Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. The campaign offers assistance to any city working for this cause. The resolution promises that the U.S. Conference of Mayors will remain engaged in this effort until the "threat of nuclear devastation" is eliminated.
Santa Fe Mayor David Coss initiated a letter of support which was co-sponsored by four other US mayors. The letter of support states, "Our opposition to nuclear attacks on cities must not be construed as condoning the destruction of cities by any other means or the use of nuclear weapons under any other circumstances. Such actions would only weaken the taboo against the mass destruction of cities which has held since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our timely action in strengthening this precious legacy allows us to speak with our citizens to say 'there is no place for weapons of mass destruction in a civilized world.'"