House Moves to Abolish NNSA Counterintelligence Office

The Counterintelligence Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would be abolished under new legislation and its functions would be reintegrated into the Department of Energy.

The action would mark a striking reversal of one of the key intelligence reforms adopted following a series of security lapses at the Department of Energy national laboratories in the 1990s, which led to the establishment of the NNSA with its own counterintelligence activity.

Section 3117 of the House version of the FY 2007 Defense Authorization Act “would consolidate the counterintelligence programs of the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration under the Department of Energy.”

For related background, see “Intelligence Reform at the Department of Energy: Policy Issues and Organizational Alternatives” (pdf), Congressional Research Service, April 10, 2006.

The consolidation of DoE and NNSA counterintelligence under the authority of DoE was reportedly sought by the DoE Office of Intelligence, led by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, and the move would tend to strengthen the influence of his Office.

Some sense of the scope of activities of the DoE Office of Intelligence can be gleaned from a DoE classification guide that was released last week in redacted form.

See “DOE Classification Guide for Intelligence Information” (redacted), August 2001, change 1, November 29, 2004, (1.7 MB PDF).

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