America's nuclear secrets continue to be vulnerable to "insider" attacks due to the Department of Energy's refusal to implement security recommendations, the Government Accountability Office said Wednesday.
The GAO released its Nuclear Security Report on Wednesday and warned that the DOE's lax security measures could lead to "devastating consequences." The report highlights threats posed by "insider" groups, e.g., the potential for a spy or other malicious actor to gain access to nuclear material under the guise of serving as employees, contractors or trusted visitors.
"The theft of nuclear material and the compromise of information could have devastating consequences," the GAO said. "Threats can come from external adversaries or from ‘insiders,’ including employees or visitors with trusted access. … Such threats could have significant consequences for national security and could include unauthorized release of classified information; workplace violence; or improper access to sensitive nuclear weapons, material."
The DOE said it began implementing recommended security measures in 2014, but the GAO now says the agency still hasn't implemented key parts of the program as of this year.
"DOE has not implemented seven required measures for its Insider Threat Program, even after independent reviewers made nearly 50 findings and recommendations to help DOE fully implement its program," the GAO wrote.
The report went on to identify some 250 insider threat incidents reported in 2017 alone, the most recent year with data available. While investigators found that most of the incidents were unintentional, it classified 100 incidents as serious breaches.
Those 100 incidents included "sending classified information over unclassified systems, leaving security areas unattended, and not properly protecting classified information."
The report also highlighted several "malicious incidents," one of which involved a federal employee who received nearly $500,000 in bribes in exchange for making undisclosed actions. The man, 78-year-old Grigory Trosman, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.