WMD Commission visits Sandia National Lab

July 29, 2008 at 8:35 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- The congressional commission probing weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism visited the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico Monday.

Members and staff of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism had briefings on nuclear and biological weapons-related issues at the laboratory in Albuquerque.

"Sandia is one of the nation's leaders in cutting-edge research and development addressing today's and tomorrow's threats to the security of the United States," the commission said in a statement.

The briefings "examined current and emerging nuclear and biological proliferation threats, the tools and techniques used to safeguard nuclear weapons, the vulnerabilities of our ports to WMDs, and technical issues associated with monitoring terrorist and proliferation trends," the statement continued.

"Today we learned about the impressive array of steps our nation is pursuing to prevent WMD attacks," said former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, the commission's chairman. "We also learned more about where gaps in our capabilities exist and some things our government could do to further close those gaps."

Graham said the nation's national laboratories, including Sandia, "have led the way at providing that insight through their technical initiatives and expertise, and we appreciate the chance to benefit from their knowledge."

The lab is run by the National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency within the Department of Energy, and provides technologies to support the global war on terrorism.

Established by Congress to implement a key recommendation of the Sept. 11 inquiry, the WMD commission is charged with assessing the current efforts of the U.S. government to prevent weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism. The panel will make recommendations in its final report this fall.

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