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Officials Say Los Alamos Drives Missing Six MonthsAired June 20, 2000 - 10:43 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Developing news now out of Washington, this relative to the Los Alamos nuclear facility and the question out there about computer hard drives that have been missing.
Pierre Thomas, tracking this from Washington.
What do we know, Pierre?
PIERRE THOMAS, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bill, we have some information about just how long those hard drives may have been missing. We are now told that these drives may have been missing as long as six months, not since April, as previously reported.
Now this centers around statements made by a lab employee right after the revelation that these hard drives were missing. That particular employee told federal officials that he had seen the hard drives, had done an audit on April 7.
As it turns out, that statement is now under serious scrutiny by the FBI, there are some officials who are suspicious of that statement. And the last written audit, that they know was done of the equipment, was in January. So a six-month period where no one's quite sure exactly where those hard drives were.
HEMMER: And no evidence as of yet, Pierre, if they even left the facility?
THOMAS: Well, again, they don't know whether they left the facility, again, but they simply don't know where these hard drives were at this particular time.
And one official said: This is why that the FBI evaluation of these hard drives is so important. The FBI is looking to see if they were copied or downloaded and that's why it's so important, because if you don't know where they were all this time, you need to know if someone may have had access to them.
HEMMER: Yes, Pierre, correct my facts if I am wrong here, but I believe 26 people, at Los Alamos, did have access to this area, where these computer hard drives were supposed to be kept. Given that number, have the interviews been completed, that process finished yet in Los Alamos, with those individuals?
THOMAS: OK, there were roughly 86 people who had access to the lab. Twenty-six of those could go into the lab without being accompanied by any particular person. So these 26 people are among those people being polygraphed.
Now three to four people are under scrutiny by the FBI. My sources are telling me that three to four people are the people that they're looking at, that there are was some indication of deception on some of the polygraph tests.
So again, a critical point that one of my sources was making is that these are the very people who were entrusted with the creation, upkeep and storage of these particular drives. So that's why this is such a perplexing story. Where were they? why couldn't they account for them?
And also they say that Richardson has been under intense scrutiny and criticism for this, but how can you control what the people who have direct control of the drives, were doing?
HEMMER: Latest information, six months again. Pierre Thomas in Washington. Thanks for the update there, Pierre.
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