LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) - A set of keys that unlock gates and offices at a nuclear weapons lab disappeared last month, but officials have since changed all locks and said national security was not compromised.
The missing keys at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are the latest embarrassment to the University of California, which manages the Livermore lab, as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, for the Department of Energy.
Livermore guards discovered the keys were missing on April 17. They have yet to be located, lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton said Wednesday.
Houghton said there have been no indications of any attempts to access the lab with the missing keys, one of about 200 such sets.
Lab officials have launched three internal investigations to determine whether the keys were stolen or simply misplaced. The guard who last had the set claims he returned it to a locker when his shift ended April 16.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will ask the Energy Department's inspector general to investigate, committee spokesman Ken Johnson said Wednesday in Washington.
"First there were missing computers at Los Alamos," Johnson said. "Now there are missing keys at Livermore. It all adds up to a management team that has been missing for too long now."
Anyone with the keys would still have to get through other security safeguards, like electronic key card locks and computer-controlled access systems. Still, lab officials changed the locks and promised to investigate.
"This is an incident I take very seriously," laboratory Director Michael Anastasio said in a statement. "We are reviewing this aggressively and making the necessary improvements to our key handling and storage procedures."
Congressional Quarterly first reported the loss of the keys on Monday.
The University of California's lab oversight has been criticized recently for problems at the Los Alamos lab, including reports of financial abuse by employees, two misplaced computer hard drives with secret nuclear-related material, and the firing of two lab investigators who raised concerns about management.
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