Hundreds of secret and top secret documents are missing from a Lockheed Corp. plant in California and audits are being falsified to conceal the loss, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) charged yesterday.
Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on oversight and investigations, said the findings of his subcommittee staff confirm his fears that the Defense Department's secret programs are not properly controlled.
The classified, or "black," programs, whose funding has grown dramatically during the Reagan administration, "are really a device to evade accountability and to conceal wrongdoing," Dingell said.
He also charged that two Lockheed employes who alerted him to the missing documents have been subjected to "abusive treatment" and reassigned within the company.
Dingell's accusations were contained in letters to Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and the chairman of Lockheed, Lawrence Kitchen. Dingell's staff made the letters available yesterday.
A spokesman for Lockheed in Washington, Hugh P. Burns, said that "it sounds like more is being made of numbers and documents and spook stories than is there." Burns said Dingell's staff happened to visit the Lockheed California division during a "routine audit" of security procedures.
"We have reached no conclusions as to whether there have been any violations of our document-control procedures," Burns said. "Lockheed to date has no evidence that the information contained in any classified document has been compromised."
Burns also disputed Dingell's accusation about the two Lockheed employes.
"I've been assured that no punitive action is being taken against them," he said.
According to sources familiar with the inquiry, the missing documents relate to Lockheed's highly secretive F19 fighter program. The F19, which has never been acknowledged to exist by the Pentagon or Lockheed, has been described in trade journals as a "Stealth" fighter jet built to evade enemy radars.
Dingell did not name the secret program at issue. But he said Lockheed, after auditing a fraction of its records, has identified hundreds of classified documents, tapes, films and blueprints as unaccounted for or missing.
"The subcommittee has also seen evidence that official documents are being forged in an effort to 'find' the missing documents and other material," Dingell wrote to Weinberger. "For example, the subcommittee has copies of a number of destruction records that have been created in the last couple of months to account for documents allegedly destroyed years ago.
"In one example, the document shows an individual witnessing the destruction of a missing document on July 17, 1982 -- a full year before he joined the company," Dingell added.
According to Dingell, Lockheed officials said they had been encouraged by Defense Department officials to backdate destruction records for missing documents.
A Defense Department spokeswoman said Weinberger has received Dingell's letter and that his staff will look into the matter. She also called attention to the Packard commission report on weapons procurement, which concluded that some highly classified programs have been better managed than projects that are not secret.