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"Forget the Rest" blog

Response from Sandia National Laboratories to the Los Alamos Study Group

[SNL letterhead]
Operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Sandia Corporation

Rod Geer
Senior Administrator, Public Relations & Communications Center
[Contact information deleted]

Mr. Greg Mello
Los Alamos Study Group
2901 Summit Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Dear Greg:

I want to take the opportunity to respond to your letter of June 18, 2004, which was directed to Bruce Fetzer, Director of Public Relations & Communications. He will be away from the office until early July.

We will not be able to accommodate your request to establish a program of quarterly citizens' inspections of the Labs' nuclear weapons program. I firmly believe the sort of "societal verification" you suggest -- an activity based on "the involvement of the whole community, or broad groups of it" -- already is satisfied in various ways. Your elected representatives can be sought out to hear any concerns or interests you have regarding the nuclear weapons R&D underway here or at our sister facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory. In addition, Sandia receives regular and vigorous inspections by several authorized entities of the government. We cannot accommodate inspections by unofficial entities.

Despite our decision not to accommodate your request for citizens' inspections we are comfortable with our track record and believe it verifies timely responsiveness to the LASG over a considerable number of years. Within the past number of months, for example, we have provided to you a detailed breakdown on non-DOE funding to Sandia and a collection of stock video (B-roll) of various Labs R&D activities. You have received invitations to attend the annual Sandia State of the Labs presentation offered to the community by Labs Director C. Paul Robinson and Deputy Director Joan Woodard. In addition, Dr. Robinson has joined you in discussions of nuclear
weapons-related matters, most recently at a meeting earlier this year of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI). We intend to continue that responsiveness with your organization.

I am reminded of something Dr. Robinson said during that NPRI panel discussion earlier this year at which you both participated: "We in fact seek the same end goals -- a peaceful and free world where the human
spirit can create opportunities for all inhabitants of our earth to prosper and fulfill their hopes and dreams." Importantly, he also added, "Unfortunately, by its nature, many of the details of my side of the subject are restricted
from open discussion by the necessity to classify this information, lest it provide advantage to potential adversaries -- and it has always been so."

Finally, we do recognize your interest in and concerns about work the US government asks Sandia to perform and invite you to continue interacting with us in the fashion you have used judiciously in the past.

Sincerely,

(Original signed by Rod Geer)

Rod Geer


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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200

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