By Adam Tanner
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Los Alamos National Laboratory, a key U.S. center for nuclear weapons research, has temporarily ceased all classified work after vital data was reported missing last week from a research area, lab officials said on Thursday.
Such a precaution at Los Alamos, the New Mexico birthplace of the first atomic bomb during World War II, has not occurred in recent memory, lab officials said, highlighting the seriousness of the breach.
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The case of the missing disks is the latest in a series of security shortcomings at U.S. nuclear weapons labs in recent years. Just last month a set of keys to a sensitive nuclear area at Los Alamos went missing for most of a day.
"This is a big deal, but it is certainly a necessary step," Danielle Brian, director of the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group in Washington D.C., said of the Los Alamos halt of classified work.
The missing data was on two zip disk drives, she said, adding: "They need to change the way they handle classified media and move to what's called a media-less system so that there isn't the capacity for a scientist to just walk off with a disk or a zip drive."
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Are we serious about the proliferation of nukes at all? I mean, yeah, it was the reason we went into Iraq, but here, like there, we could give a shit about securing information and materiel. Jesus H. Christ, this is fucking Los Alamos, where they developed the A-Bomb and shit. How can their security be so fucked up?