WASHINGTON (AP) â€” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, admittedly ``furious'' over recent security lapses at the State Department, exhorted department employees Wednesday to ensure that the nation's secrets don't fall into the wrong hands.
A stern-faced Albright summoned the employees to a ``town hall'' meeting to discuss her concerns following the unexplained disappearance of a laptop computer containing highly sensitive information last February and an incident last year in which a seventh floor conference room to found to have been bugged.
``I do not wish to underestimate what has happened here,'' Albright said, ``It is huge and terrible.''
A standing room only crowd, including virtually all of the department's most senior officials, jammed the department's main auditorium to hear Albright's impassioned pleas for greater vigilance.
``If you are not a professional about security, you are a failure,'' Albright said.
Last week, Albright transferred two office directors in response to the lapse that led to the disappearance of the computer. She also announced a five point plan to guard against such security breakdowns in the future
Officials said the missing laptop contained large quantities of documents about arms proliferation issues, including highly sensitive information about sources and methods of U.S. intelligence collection.