The private contractor guard force is owned by a foreign company with a long record of botched security operations from Afghanistan to London to Oak Ridge, Tennessee
The company is now wholly-owned by foreign security firm G4S, the same company that won notoriety on 9/11 when its Argenbright Security division ran passenger checkpoints at Dulles and Newark airports where hijackers boarded planes. Its performance on 9/11 was the major political impetus Congress used to federalize all airline security and create the Transportation Security Administration.
G4S was involved in a major scandal when its employees took part in bizarre hazing rituals when supposedly guarding State Department employees in Afghanistan. More recently, the company so botched security preparations for the London Olympics, the British government was forced to call in the army at the last minute.
by Joseph Trento at The DC Bureau November 14, 2012
Aiken, S.C. – Tons of weapons grade plutonium and other nuclear materials, a target for terrorists, are not being properly protected by the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy’s sprawling Savannah River Site, according to security consultants and U.S. counterintelligence officials.
A secret security review underway at DOE and other government agencies after an elderly nun last summer breached a NNSA bomb-grade-uranium facility at the Oak Ridge Tennessee Y12 area reveals “harrowing problems in site management and control at other DOE sites,” said a Homeland Security official who requested anonymity. The official said that the Savannah River Site was of concern because “SRS does not have the staffing or the facilities to protect the huge amounts of plutonium that have been brought to SRS in recent years.”
SRS has one of the greatest concentrations in the world of radioactive material. In one old reactor building – the K Area Material Storage (KAMS) facility – protected by the same contractors that botched security at Oakridge, there is enough weapons grade plutonium to destroy the world multiple times. Here plutonium in its purest form can be found by the ton.
The New York Times October 31, 2012
WASHINGTON — The security guards at a nuclear weapons plant who failed to stop an 82-year-old nun from reaching a bomb fuel storage building earlier this year were also cheating on a recertification exam, according to an internal investigation by the Department of Energy, which owns the weapons plant.
The exam, with answers, was circulated to guards at the Y-12 National Security Complex, near Oak Ridge, Tenn., before they sat down to take it, according to the report, by the department’s inspector general. The report, released on Wednesday, said that the cheating was enabled by the department itself. It was routine practice for the department to involve contractor personnel in preparation of such exams, because the federal government did not know enough about the security arrangements to write the exam without the help of the contractor
A federal security official sent the exam by encrypted e-mail to “trusted agents” at the management contractor, B&W, but did not instruct those executives to keep it secret from the people who would have to take it, according to the report. The government found out about the cheating only because an inspector visiting the plant noticed a copy of an exam on the seat of a patrol vehicle the day before guards were to take it.
The security contractor was Wackenhut, but its contract was terminated after a security breach on July 28, when the nun, Sister Megan Gillespie Rice, and two accomplices cut through three layers of fence, splashed blood on a building housing bomb-grade uranium, performed a Christian ritual and then waited to be apprehended. A subsequent investigation found that many security cameras had been disabled long before the break-in.
* Anti-nuclear activists cut through perimeter fences
* Nun, 82, was among the activists arrested
By Mark Hosenball Reuters Washington Aug 2, 2012
The U.S. government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium was temporarily shut this week after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.
WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.
Officials said that the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly-enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.
The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12 that it was given during World War II, officials said.
While moving between the perimeter fences, the activists triggered sensors which alerted security personnel. However, officials conceded that the intruders still were able to reach the building’s walls before security personnel got to them.
Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves “Transform Now Plowshares”, were arrested and charged by federal authorities with vandalism and criminal trespass.
She said the three, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael R. Walli, 63 and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, were being held in custody. They are scheduled to appear in court in the next few days.
Barfield forwarded a statement from the group in which they said they had passed through four fences and walked for “over two hours” before reaching the uranium storage building, upon which they hung banners and strung crime-scene tape.
NUCLEAR MATERIALS “NOT COMPROMISED”
Officials said that the storage building itself, which was built after the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, was designed with extra and modern security features and that its contents were not compromised.
WSI Oak Ridge, the private firm employed by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide security at Y-12, is a subsidiary of the giant international security firm G4S.
Knox News March 13, 2012
More than 300 current and former security police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against G4S Government Solutions, the government’s security contractor in Oak Ridge, claiming violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The lawsuit contends that Oak Ridge guards were required to perform various activities before and after their work shifts without being paid their straight time wages or overtime as required by law. The suit was filed March 9 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville by attorney Garry Ferraris.
G4S does business in Oak Ridge as WSI-Oak Ridge. WSI spokeswoman Courtney Henry said the company had no comment at this time.
The lawsuit is seeking back wages for the past three years, which reportedly is the statute of limitations for willful violations of the federal labor act. If the court certifies this as a collective action, the lawsuit could be opened to hundreds of other Oak Ridge guards potentially affected by decision.