- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Five agencies under Justice Department jurisdiction, including the FBI and DEA, have reported 775 missing or stolen weapons and 400 missing laptop computers, says a report released yesterday.
Some of the weapons were used to commit crimes and the classification level of 218 of the missing laptops is unknown, said the audit report by the department's Office of Inspector General, an internal investigative unit.
The bulk of the missing weapons belonged to the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The report noted that "it is possible that the missing laptop computers would have been used to process and store national security or sensitive law enforcement information that, if divulged, could harm the public."
Before last year, the FBI had not taken a complete inventory of laptops and weapons in almost a decade, despite an agency policy requiring such an inventory be taken every two years, said Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.
"The FBI showed serious deficiencies in management in keeping track of weapons and laptops," Mr. Fine said. "Taking inventory is not a glamorous part of the job and the FBI had many other duties. It was not taken seriously."
The Justice Department has already revealed to Congress that 449 weapons and 184 computers were lost or stolen.
In the inspector general's audit, the INS and the FBI reported losses of 539 and 212 weapons, respectively. The FBI reported an additional 211 missing weapons outside the time frame of the audit.
None of the other three Justice Department components the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service reported more than 16 missing weapons.
The BOP, DEA and USMS audits cover weapons and laptop computers that were reported lost, missing, or stolen between October 1999 and August 2001. The FBI audit covers weapons and laptop computers that were reported lost, missing, or stolen between October 1999 and January 2002.
With respect to laptop computers, the DEA could not provide the number of losses, due to unreliable data. The FBI reported 317 of its more than 15,000 laptop computers as missing while the USMS reported 56 of its 1,450 laptops as missing.
Some of the weapons were believed to have been used in crimes.
According to the report, local police recovered from the pocket of a murder victim a handgun stolen from an FBI agent's residence in New Orleans. Police in Atlanta recovered a stolen DEA weapon during a narcotics search at a suspect's residence; and police in Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla., recovered INS weapons that were used to commit armed robberies.

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