Nun faces 30 years in prison for exposing security lapses in nuclear weapons program

Mike from Mother Jones sez, "Josh Harkinson writes about the upcoming sentencing of Megan Rice, an elderly nun and Plowshares activist who broke into the Y-12 enriched uranium facility with two fellow aging activists. The incident, which exposed glaring security flaws and was deeply embarrassing to the feds, could get the trio a maximum 30 years in federal prison. Harkinson writes:"

"The security breach," as the Department of Energy's Inspector General later described it, exposed "troubling displays of ineptitude" at what is supposed to be "one of the most secure facilities in the United States." At a February hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, multiple members of Congress thanked Rice for exposing the site's gaping vulnerabilities. But that didn't deter federal prosecutors from throwing the book at Rice and her accomplices...

Even if the judge gives Sister Rice a more lenient sentence, as seems likely, she could still end up spending the rest of her life behind bars. "It's of absolutely no consequence to her," says her friend Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. "As a nun she believes strongly that she is called to be a servant of God wherever she is."

Nun Faces up to 30 Years for Breaking Into Weapons Complex, Embarrassing the Feds [Josh Harkinson/Mother Jones]

Notable Replies

  1. I just LOVE your unique writing STYLE and its EMPHASIS in weirD placEs. Very intellectual. Much LEET.

    Although I read the ARTICLE, too, I think you are being a LITTLE small MINDED about WHAT this PERSON actually DID. The LAWS are there TO PROTECT US from HARM. Notice that is SOMEthing the FaCiIItY couldn't do. IT SEEMS the facility is at fault not a bunch of PENSIONERS.

  2. the way this post is worded, it makes it sound as if Rice's goal was to expose how lax the security was at the facility, when in fact she had no idea how lax it would be at the outset. her actual goal was to break into the facility to protest that the uranium enriched there was destined to be made into atomic weapons, which are decidedly un-christlike.

    nothing I read indicated any theft, but breaking and entering and destruction of federal property applies if only because she and her party cut a hole in a chain link fence. cool capslock, though, bro.

  3. jeddak says:

    Perhaps intent ought to be taken into account. The greater good to society is that she and her compatriots exposed a serious condition which (presumably) will now be remedied.

    To punish her with 30 years would be unethical.

    Reminds me of hmmm...what's-his-name- oh yeah - Snowden.

    Sometimes, you need to break the law in order to do the Right Thing.

  4. This nun and her compadres break into a facility, and you blame the facility ?

    I see you're a self described IT Security Geek, for a minute I'll assume that is your job and put this hypothetical situation to you: If your employer hired you to secure some sensitive data, and three days later that data was hacked into by an inexperienced hacker through simple methods, would you expect to retain your job? Or would you expect to be blamed for not actually doing your job and get fired?

    The facility in question exists to process and secure weapons grade uranium. Its a facility with hundreds of millions of dollars of security in place. If it can't keep out a couple of pensioners then those running the facility certainly do need to be blamed, and held to account. This doesn't necessarily excuse Megan Rice or her comrades, but their peaceful and honourable intentions most certainly should be considered when sentencing them.

  5. Actually that's bullshit. A court has plenty of leeway to interpret the motives of criminals and apply leniency or otherwise. The idea that in this case the justice system should show leniency is not some radical proposition made without regard to the rule of law, its just common sense.

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