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  FBI Ends Los Almamos Spy Probe

The Associated Press
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2001; 11:18 p.m. EST

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. –– An FBI investigation of two missing hard drives at Los Alamos National Laboratory found no evidence of espionage, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Thursday.

The FBI ended its investigation without determining who was responsible for the disappearance, Richardson said in a statement. The agency also found no evidence that top-secret information about nuclear weapons contained on the drives had been stolen, he said.

Workers noticed the drives were missing from a vault in the lab's top-secret X Division as a wildfire moved onto lab property in early May, and the lab and surrounding area were evacuated.

The drives, each slightly larger than a deck of cards, still could not be found when workers were able to re-enter the vault May 22. Top lab officials were notified on June 1.

The drives were discovered June 16 behind a copy machine in an area that had been searched previously.

Richardson said Thursday that with the close of the investigation the Energy Department would refer the matter to the department's Albuquerque operations office and the University of California, which manages the lab, so that they could take any appropriate personnel action.

In November, the university said it had disciplined some lab workers for the disappearance. No one was fired, and the university would not give other details.

University spokesman Jeff Garberson of San Francisco said at the time that upper-level managers and rank-and-file employees had been disciplined, and some were temporarily suspended.

John Gordon, head of the DOE's nuclear weapons program, said the investigation's end means Los Alamos can now "fully focus on its vitally important national security mission."

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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