FBI lost hundreds of laptops, weapons since 2002

Some of the 160 lost or stolen laptops contained top-secret data. Despite vast improvements, Justice controls of computers and weapons still too lax, IG says.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor on

Over a period of four years - from 2002 to 2005 - the FBI lost 160 laptop computers, including 10 that contain highly sensitive classified information, according to an inspector general's report. The Washington Post reports that another 51 of the computers might contain classified data, according to the IG report. In addition, 160 weapons are missing as well.

"Without knowing the content of these lost and stolen laptops, it is impossible for the FBI to determine the extent of the damage these losses might have had on its operations or on national security," the inspector general's office said.

The FBI claims there were actually 43 fewer missing weapons than the IG claims but conceded "more needs to be done to ensure the proper handling of the loss and theft of laptop computers." Things have definitely improved. The 2002 report found nearly 1,000 missing firearms in Justice agencies, including at least 18 weapons later recovered by local police departments in connection with criminal investigations. But still:

"Our review determined that the FBI has made some progress in improving its controls over weapons and laptops," Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said. "However, significant deficiencies remain, particularly with regard to the FBI's response to lost or stolen laptops that may contain sensitive information."
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