JLab Incident of Security Concern – Improper Access Control Procedures


Posted on behalf of Brian Hanlon, Security and Services Manager

Security Incident Concern
At 7:18 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, a Jefferson Lab security officer conducting routine door checks found the front entrance door of the Radiation Calibration building was unlocked with the strike plate covered by a piece of tape.

Jefferson Lab Security reviewed video records and interviewed building users and determined the tape was intentionally placed over the strike plate earlier that day to accommodate subcontractor access. At the end of the work day the responsible employee closed the door and set the intrusion detection alarm, but forgot to remove the piece of tape from the door’s strike plate before departing. Access control records show the Intrusion Detection Alarm System was set at 6:50 p.m., so the door was unlocked for approximately 28 minutes before security discovered the access control compromise.

Event Impact
The door to an access controlled property protection area containing accountable nuclear material was left unlocked for approximately 30 minutes when staff departed for the day. This constitutes an incident of security concern that must be reported to the DOE. A subsequent inventory of accountable material confirmed there was no tampering or loss.

Lessons Learned
All JSA employees are reminded of their responsibility to follow JSA Key and Lock Control policy (Administrative Manual 301.7, VPN sign-in required) and never prop open doors or leave them unlocked during hours when the facility is normally closed or unattended. Although not specifically stated in the policy, this includes defeating the function of the access control system. Also, employees should contact Security in advance to coordinate proper procedures for subcontractor access to property protection areas.

What Went Right
The security officer performing regular door check discovered the unlocked door and identified a physical access vulnerability which was resolved without any loss or compromise of accountable nuclear material. The responsible employees immediately participated in the investigation of the event and acknowledged their actions which led to a swift and decisive conclusion of this event.  

CONTACT: Brian Hanlon, hanlon@jlab.org