NBC Right Now has learned that the Department of Energy is shutting down a local field office that works to keep Hanford safe from terrorism.
The Hanford Intelligence and Counterintelligence Office could be shut down as soon as Monday.
Up to 6 people who work to protect the nuclear site from insider and external threats including terrorism activity overseas, will be out of a job.
NBC Right Now asked DOE officials if this sudden closure was a result of sequestration, and they would not comment on any budget issues. They did, however, send us a statement saying quote,"over the years, the Energy Department has opened and closed counterintelligence field offices to meet mission requirements at sites while ensuring counterintelligence needs are being met. The nearby counterintelligence field office located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will be taking responsibility for counterintelligence support at Hanford."
NBC Right Now also asked if it was safe or wise to have PNNL private contractors taking over for federal workers. A DOE spokesperson told us the counterintelligence program has both federal and contractor employees, but they would not further discuss staffing.
DOE is also closing another counterintelligence field office in Chicago.