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Department of Energy: DOE Needs to Improve Controls Over Foreign Visitors to Weapons Laboratories.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIV
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To guard against foreign nationals obtaining information that would be detrimental to U.S. security or business interests, DOE has established various controls to minimize the risk of foreign espionage. However, past work done by GAO in 1988 and more recently by elements of the U.S. intelligence community has shown problems with DOES controls over foreign visitors to its laboratories. Moreover, because the number of foreign visitors to the laboratories increased over 50 percent from the late-l980s to the mid-1990s, additional burdens have been placed on the controls DOE has in place to manage foreign visits. The high number of foreign visitors, as well as some recent investigative cases involving foreign nationals at DOEs laboratories, have increased concerns that the laboratories are targets of foreign espionage. Because of these concerns, the House Committee on National Security, in a May 1996 report, directed GAO to determine how well DOE has been managing foreign visits to the weapons laboratories. Accordingly, GAO assessed DOES 1 procedures for reviewing the backgrounds of foreign visitors and for controlling the dissemination of sensitive information to them, 2 security controls for limiting foreign visitors access to areas and information within its laboratories, and 3 counterintelligence programs for mitigating the potential threat posed by foreign visitors.
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