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July 14, 1999

Chris Kielich, 202/586-5806

Richardson Toughens Requirements for
Unclassified Foreign Visits and Assignments

Policy Directive Strengthens Controls over Foreign Nationals at DOE Facilities

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson today formally issued revised procedures for visits and assignments by foreign nationals to the Department of Energy's (DOE) national laboratories and other facilities. The new requirements implement recommendations in DOE's Counterintelligence Implementation Plan and President Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive, (PDD) 61. Secretary Richardson has already implemented these measures at the department's most sensitive facilities. Major changes include:

"Unclassified foreign visits and assignments to Department of Energy national laboratories are vital to keep U.S. scientists abreast of developments throughout the scientific world," said Secretary Richardson. "Today's directive formalizes actions I have been taking for several months to strengthen security at our national laboratories. Despite the interest of science in a free flow of information, from now on foreign national visits and assignments will be closely monitored so that they are consistent with United States foreign, nonproliferation, international energy and national security policies and agreements."

Today's action is part of Secretary Richardson's sweeping security reforms announced May 11, which overhauled the department's security management and oversight process and instituted new counterintelligence and cyber-security measures, cyber-threat training and a zero-tolerance security policy. One element of the May 11 change was the establishment of an Office of Foreign Visits and Assignments Policy reporting to the new office of Security and Emergency Operations headed by DOE's Security Czar, retired Air Force General Eugene E. Habiger.

The Visits and Assignments Policy Office will act as a central accounting center to track and analyze the details of foreign visits and assignments to DOE facilities to ensure that these are conducted in a secure manner. The office will ensure that foreign nationals and non-U.S. citizens working with the department on contract are approved to visit DOE facilities.

Secretary Richardson emphasized that this policy covers only citizens of foreign countries, not naturalized U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens of foreign extraction. "While U.S. national security is a top priority at the labs," Secretary Richardson said, "I am also concerned that Asian Pacific Americans as a group are finding their loyalty and patriotism questioned in the wake of recent espionage allegations. This behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it. The new order makes clear that ‘foreign nationals' does not include any U.S. citizens regardless of their heritage."

- DOE -


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