OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- A government security contractor is investigating allegations that a security officer slept on the job at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the nation's most sensitive nuclear research sites.
The government's security contractor confirmed Monday it is probing not only that the security officer was asleep but also used an unauthorized cellphone inside a high-security facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
"WSI-Oak Ridge (formerly known as Wackenhut Services) has initiated an investigation into all the allegations," spokeswoman Courtney Henry said in an email response.
Photographs of the individual in question were distributed anonymously to multiple groups, including WSI, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the U.S. Department of Energy.
The photographs were reportedly taken inside Building 3019, the highest-security facility at Oak Ridge. The building houses a large stockpile of fissionable uranium-233, which could potentially be used in an atomic bomb.
Henry would not confirm the identity of the individual or whether the photographs were taken inside 3019.
"At this time the investigation has been initiated and until it is complete I don't have any further details," she said. "We won't know the exact building where the photos were taken or any other facts until that time."
Oak Ridge Director Thom Mason, who was on the distribution list for the letter and photographs, referred questions to the Energy department. He did not comment on whether he'd received the photographs, but he noted that responsibility for Building 3019 -- located in the lab's central campus -- has been shifted to DOE's environmental management organization
WSI-Oak Ridge, the security contractor, doesn't report to the lab but has a direct contract with the Energy department, he said.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The photographs raise the specter of multiple security violations, especially if there is confirmation that the pictures were taken inside Building 3019.
Besides the apparent violations of an officer sleeping on the job and using a prohibited electronic device, there is the additional issue of who took photographs inside a high-security nuclear installation.