Questions About Security Raised at Oak Ridge

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) - The man accused, isn't talking and his lawyer, and federal prosecutors aren't talking any more, for now.

But Volunteer TV’s Gordon Boyd tells us, what they've said so far, raises broader questions about how and why a low-level maintenance man now faces federal charges of trying to sell some of Oak Ridge's nuclear secrets.

Questions about security, and who may have known what, when.

The indictment, and the defense response, are deliberately vague.

Worker believes he can help himself, and help a friendly country, France.

“Broken pieces of pipe, that were to be thrown away,” says Roy Oakley’s attorney Herb Moncier.

Roy Lynn Oakley's lawyer may spin it as cash for trash, “The government offered an awful lot of money for that.”

How much he won't say, nor will he touch on why, beyond, “Roy has been a laborer all his life.”

Who, with his wife, we've learned has been buying land and lots in Roane County for the past eight years.

So far, records show he's paid all his mortgages and taxes, including a new homestead in Harriman three years ago.

And a mobile home/slash apartment park on Old 70 near Midtown, that’s the property the FBI raided back in January, after, prosecutors allege, Oakley met with the undercover agent he thought was offering him money from the French government.

“It does surprise me that somebody could get as far as he did,” says Oak Ridge resident Matthew Sherrone.

“It's a huge deal, you have to go through a major security process just to get onto the facility,” Oak Ridger Ryan Hughes.

“The East Tennessee Technology Park and the Oak Ridge Reservation are protected by multiple layers of security systems and programs and detection programs,” says Gerald Boyd from the Department of Energy.

The Energy Department's Oak Ridge Manager says the security net Roy Oakley faced includes cleanup contractor Bechtel Jacobs, The Office of Counterintelligence, the FBI, and the Energy Department itself.

“The FBI successfully interrupted the accused individual’s intention after the situation came to our attention,” says Boyd.

But when was that?

Last October, when, the indictment alleges, Roy Oakley first figured he cash in on K-25's broken uranium enrichment barrier rods and other hardware, or up to four months later, when the FBI busted him?

Neither federal prosecutors, nor Oakley's lawyer, nor any court documents so far spell out any specifics.

The Energy Department confirms Roy Oakley had security clearance, clearance it says, appropriate for the work assigned.

It won't say what he had to pass through to get into or out of his work site.

Oakley's lawyer won't say whether it started as taking a souvenir, or that security would have allowed him to take what he called junk, home.

The energy department says whatever Oakley was cleaning up, the remains were supposed to stay on site and secured.

We know that Roy Oakley was trying to cut a deal with prosecutors.

It fell apart.

But what's pushed it to a public trial, a public airing, we can only guess.


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