Nuclear Weapons Facilities Vulnerable to Terrorists, Whistleblower Says

Nuclear weapons facilities in the United States are vulnerable to terrorist attacks, according to a whistleblower who recounts his tale to reporter (and Grist contributor) Mark Hertsgaard in the November issue of Vanity Fair. Until September 2001, federal employee Rich Levernier was in charge of coordinating simulated attacks on weapons facilities. The results of those simulations reveal just how unprepared the U.S. is for the real thing: During more than half of the staged attacks, Levernier’s teams of faux terrorists successfully stole plutonium and escaped unscathed. Levernier, who made his claims public for the first time in the article, is suing the Department of Energy for gagging him and removing him from his duties without sufficient cause. The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees weapons facilities, calls his claims “simply untrue.”