A computer hacker got into the U.S.
agency that guards the country's nuclear weapons stockpile and
stole the personal records of at least 1,500 employees and
contractors, a senior U.S. lawmaker said on Friday.
The target of the hacker, the National Nuclear Safety
Administration, is the latest agency to reveal that sensitive
private information about government workers was stolen.
The incident happened last September but top Energy
Department officials were not told about it until this week,
prompting the chairman of the House of Representatives Energy
and Commerce Committee to demand the resignation of the head of
An NNSA spokesman was not available for comment.
The NNSA is a semi-autonomous arm of the Energy Department
and also guards some of the U.S. military's nuclear secrets and
responds to global nuclear and radiological emergencies.
Committee chairman Rep. Joe Barton (news, bio, voting record) said NNSA Administrator
Linton Brooks should be "removed from your office as
expeditiously as possible" because he did not quickly notify
senior Energy Department officials of the breach.
"And I mean like 5 o'clock this afternoon if it's
possible," Barton, a Texas Republican, said in a statement.
Earlier this week the Pentagon revealed that personal
information on about 2.2 million active-duty, National Guard
and Reserve troops was stolen last month from a government
That comes on top of the theft of data on 26.5 million U.S.
military veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs has said.
A spokesman for Energy Secretary Sam Bodman declined
comment on the call for Brooks' resignation but said the
secretary was "deeply disturbed about the way this was handled
internally" and would make it a priority to notify workers
about the lapse.
The "vast majority" of those workers were contractors, not
direct government employees, said the spokesman Craig Stevens.
According to Barton, the NNSA chief knew about the incident
soon after it happened in September but did not inform Energy
Department officials, including Bodman, until Wednesday.
"I don't see how you could meet with (Bodman) every day the
last seven or eight months and not inform him," Barton said.
He said Brooks cited "bureaucratic confusion" to explain
the reporting lapse.
"It appears that each side of that organization assumed
that the other side had made the appropriate notification,"
Brooks told the House energy panel's oversight and
investigations subcommittee, according to a record provided by
"Just as the secretary just learned about this week, I
learned this week that the secretary didn't know," Brooks said.
"There are a number of us who in hindsight should have done
things differently on informing."
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