FBI reports laptops missing

Hundreds of FBI laptop computers, including at least one containing classified information, have been lost or stolen over the past decade, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.

Acting FBI Director Tom Pickard informed Attorney General John Ashcroft July 17 that 184 laptop computers were missing and that at least 13 of them are believed to have been stolen.

The word comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee today is scheduled to hold the second in a series of hearings on management problems at the FBI.

The bureau has been plagued by a series of woes over recent years, including the loss of thousands of documents in connection with the trial of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Officials blamed the mishandling of those documents on computer problems.

In addition to the laptop computers, nearly 450 firearms are missing.

In response, Ashcroft has asked the Justice Department's inspector general to conduct an inventory of laptops and other items. The FBI alone has about 13,000 laptop computers, Justice Department officials said.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department IG reported that the Immigration and Naturalization Service could not account for weapons.

Laptop computers have also been lost or stolen at the departments of State and Energy.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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