The solution: Save the labs, at least, by spinning them off into an independent entity within DOE, with a security apparatus all its own. Republicans say that’s what they’ve been saying all along; Richardson says the fixes he’s making will be plenty without creating one more "fiefdom" for the bureaucrats to nest in. Meanwhile, scientist-under-suspicion Wen Ho Lee seems likelier than ever to simply fade away. Without witnesses, a motive or even proof that the downloaded nuclear codes were picked up by China, the Justice Department doesn’t have a case. To hear Rudman tell it, Lee should just grow a mustache or something -– the DOE would probably hire him back.
This one makes Christopher Cox look like an optimist. The first-ever public report by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, led by former senator Warren Rudman, says the problem with the Department of Energy’s nuclear labs isn’t China. It isn’t Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Congress or Hazel O’Leary. It’s the Department of Energy itself. The DOE bureaucracy is "incapable of reforming itself," reads the 57-page tongue-lashing, and despite all the leak-plugging that new chief Bill Richardson has done of late, there was no assurance they "will gain more than a toehold" once Richardson departs.