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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
FBI guns and laptops go missing
Department of Justice building in Washington
Record-keeping was poor, the Justice Department found

An embarrassed US Justice Department is reviewing its security procedures after admitting that more than 700 weapons and over 400 laptop computers had gone missing in the past three years.

Most of the laptops belonged to the FBI - many containing classified information.

Two of the guns were subsequently used in armed robberies, a third apparently became a murder weapon after being stolen from the home of an FBI agent in New Orleans.

Officials say the problem is the result of faulty paperwork.

Unreturned loans

Some of the guns were apparently loaned out to other government departments and were not returned.

Laptop computer
The contents of some missing laptops had not been recorded

According to the Washington Post, the Justice Department Inspector General's Office's audit found that FBI records were so incomplete officials could not say what information was contained on some of the missing computers.

The FBI is promising a prompt and robust review of its security procedures.

Amid a national debate about the bureau's future direction, this is one investigation it could have done without.

In July last year, the FBI carried out an exhaustive inventory of equipment and found 184 computers were missing, including 13 that were believed to have been stolen.

An inventory of pistols, handguns, rifles, shotguns and sub-machine guns found 184 had been stolen and 265 lost.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Steve Kingstone
"These figures make embarrassing reading for the Justice Department"
See also:

19 Jul 01 | Americas
18 Jul 01 | Americas
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13 Jan 02 | UK
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