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Surveillance Investigation Reveals Serious Security Lapses at Federal Chemical Facilities

A covert surveillance operation filmed government agents successfully breaching security at two National Institute of Standards and Technology campuses.

BOULDER, Colo. — It has been revealed that federal investigators conducting covert surveillance and other secret operations successfully breached security at two secure U.S. government facilities in Colorado and Maryland, one of which contained a nuclear research reactor, according to a new government report.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent undercover agents to two campuses of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.

The report states that its covert vulnerability testing identified security vulnerabilities, specifically GAO agents being able to gain unauthorized access to various areas of both NIST campuses.

According to an aide on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, investigators sought access to the facilities multiple times and each time were successful.

NIST labs house a number of dangerous chemicals and radioactive material used for research and testing that could potentially be deadly in the wrong hands.

“Lax physical security at NIST invites concerns about everything from petty vandalism and theft…to criminals or even terrorists stealing or releasing poisonous chemicals and other dangerous materials that are stored in NIST labs,” says the aide.

The GAO tests and sets standards for everything from radiation detectors used by the Department of Homeland Security, ballistic-resistant body armor used by police departments, to proper radiation and exposure levels for mammograms, and it has recently been tasked with researching and recommending ways for federal agencies to recover from any cyberattack, according to ABC News.

GAO agents shot surveillance videos of its operation, of which the House panel is now in possession of, and plans to show them to committee members and staff before a hearing today.

The U.S. Commerce Department, under which NIST falls, has asked the committee to treat the recorded material as “law enforcement sensitive,” which shields it from public view, according to the aide. Negotiations are underway to publicly publish the material.

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