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SECURITY LAPSE INTERVIEW
by Dale Connelly, 9/15/00

Dc: This is DCR, news meant for amusement. The case of Wen Ho Lee and the Los Alamos National Laboratory... On the line with us is Gary Incommunicado, a lab security expert for the federal government at Shifting Sands National Laboratory. Hello Mr. Incommunicado.

Gary: (phone) Hello.

Dc: You've been quoted saying that with proper security procedures, we need not lose any national secrets of any kind. That the natural leakiness of human beings can be overcome by strictly enforced systems and safeguards.

Gary: Correct.

Dc: Please explain the sorts of procedures you have in mind.

Gary: That's out of the question. If I explained the security procedures, then a person could find a way around them.

Dc: The picture that's been painted, though, of security as it exists in the national labs... makes it seem pretty lax.

Gary: Not true. Everything is tightly controlled.
I have a checklist that governs every kind of conversation.

Dc: Including this one?

Gary: Especially this one.

Dc: What's on the checklist?

Gary: I really can't say. Hang on please.
(mutter to self) Confirm secure phone line.

Dc: Do you have to have a secure phone line?

Gary: (surprised pause) Maybe.

Dc: But I'm broadcasting the conversation! Why use a secure line?

Gary: That detail of the policy is classified. Hang on please.
(mutter to self) Step 2 - Shut down computer. So... click here.

Dc: Mr. Incommunicado, why do you have to shut down your computer?

Gary: Computer?

Dc: Is it because you might have sensitive information on the screen when I'm talking to you? (pause)

Gary: Ummmmmm.

Dc: But this is a phone conversation. I can't see you.

Gary: Our conversation hasn't officially begun yet. I'm still... preparing. Hang on a moment.
(mutter to self) Clear desktop of all papers, classified and unclassified.

Dc: Mr. Incommunicado?

Gary: One moment.

(sfx: off mic desktop clearing into wastebasket)

Dc: Hello? Are you ready to speak now?

Gary: Still preparing.
(mutter to self) Empty drawers of all official documents and personal papers.

(sfx: desk drawers being opened and emptied into wastebasket)

Dc: (vo) If you've just joined us, I'm talking with Gary Incommunicado, a scientist at the Shifting Sands National Laboratory, about new security procedures instituted in the wake of the Wen Ho Lee case. He's going down a checklist of protective measures necessary before we can even have our conversation. It sounds like he's emptying his drawers.

Gary: Mr. Connelly, I am not permitted to discuss personal matters at any time. If such a discussion begins, I would have to terminate the conversation immediately.

Dc: Of course. You're ready now?

Gary: Almost. One moment please.
(mutter to self) To complete checklist, burn classified, sensitive, potentially sensitive and unclassified and non sensitive material. Hmmm.
Burn?

Dc: Mr. Incommunicado We're running out of...

(sfx: flame flares up)

Gary: (off mic) Whoa baby! That's big!

Dc: Hello? Gary? What's going on?

Gary: (panicky) No comment at this time!

Dc: Have you set all that stuff on fire? In your office?

Gary: (cough cough)

Dc: Mr. Incommunicado? Are you there? Are you OK?

Gary: Hang on just a moment! Ow! Ow! Ow! (effort)

(sfx: window crash, fire fade out)

Dc: Gary? Is it out? Is the fire out?

Gary: (exhausted) Fire? What fire?

Dc: It sounded like there was a fire there in your office.

Gary: I'm not saying that there was, but if there had been, the information would be subject to a security clearance procedure.

Dc: Are you done with your checklist and able to talk now?

Gary: I can tell you that the procedures we have in place are thorough and will virtually guarantee that no secrets will leave this place ever again.

Dc: That's reassuring. But are the security procedures burdensome in any way? Might the clamp down make it difficult to do your work?

Gary: Not at all. Once the systems are in place... everything will run smoothly. I'm sure of it.

(sfx: alarm off mic)

Dc: Is everything OK there?

Gary: Why do you ask?

Dc: Gary Incommunicado is a researcher at the Shifting Sands National Laboratory. He joined us by phone from what was left of his office.

(later in show)

Dc: This just in ... a fire said to be threatening Shifting Sands National Laboratory has been extinguished. Authorities say no one was hurt and it probably wouldn't have destroyed anything of value, even if it had consumed the building.

 

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