August, 2002 — The Department of Justice Inspector General reported that 212 of the FBI’s functional weapons, 142 inoperable training weapons, and 317 laptop computers were lost, missing, or stolen during a 28-month review period.
February, 2007 — The Department of Justice Inspector General reported in a follow-up audit that: “the FBI reported 160 weapons and 160 laptop computers as lost or stolen over a 44-month period.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Control Over Weapons and Laptop Computers Follow-Up Audit
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General,
Audit Report 07-18
In 2001, the Attorney General requested that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conduct audits of the controls over weapons and laptop computers throughout the Department of Justice (DOJ) to address concerns about the DOJ’s accountability for such property.
In response, the OIG conducted separate audits of the controls over weapons and laptop computers at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS). Audit reports on each component, including the FBI, were issued, as well as an overall report summarizing the results from each audit.
The OIG’s 2002 report on the FBI disclosed significant losses of weapons and laptop computers and examined the adequacy of the FBI’s response to these losses. The report concluded that the FBI’s procedures to prevent the loss of such equipment were not adequate. Specifically, we found that the FBI:
1) Identified 212 functional weapons, 142 inoperable training weapons,
and 317 laptop computers as lost, missing, or stolen for our 28-
month review period.
2) Did not always report the missing items to the DOJ or enter lost and
stolen weapons and laptop computers into the National Crime
Information Center (NCIC) database.
3) Did not have policies in place that required reporting lost or stolen
laptop computers to its Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR),
nor was the FBI investigating the loss of this equipment in a timely
4) Had not established deadlines for reporting losses, was not
conducting physical inventories as required, and was not reconciling
its property records to its financial records.
5) Did not ensure that exit procedures were regularly followed for
separating employees to ensure that they returned all issued
property, including FBI-issued weapons.
6) Could not provide documentation to establish whether excessed
laptop computers were properly disposed of as required.
We conducted this follow-up audit to assess the progress of the FBI in addressing the deficiencies regarding control over weapons and laptops. The FBI had the greatest number of losses, as well as the most significant deficiencies in controls, of all the DOJ components we reviewed in our 2002 audits.
The objective of this follow-up audit was to determine whether the FBI has implemented adequate corrective action to the findings in the original audit report.
To conduct this follow-up audit, we interviewed FBI officials, reviewed documents, and tested controls at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the FBI Training Academy at Quantico, Virginia, and FBI field offices in Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; New York, New York; and Washington, D.C. Fifty-two percent of the FBI’s 52,263 weapons and 54 percent of its 26,166 laptop computers were assigned to these offices.
Our review period for the 2002 audit covered 28 months, from October 1, 1999, to January 31, 2002. Our review period for our follow-up audit covered 44 months, from February 1, 2002, to September 30, 2005.
Our audit found that the FBI has not taken sufficient corrective action on several recommendations outlined in our 2002 audit report to address the issue of missing and stolen equipment. Perhaps most troubling, the FBI could not determine in many cases whether the lost or stolen laptop computers contained sensitive or classified information. Such information may include case information, personal identifying information, or classified information on FBI operations.
Prior to our follow-up audit the FBI did not maintain records indicating which of its laptop computers actually contained sensitive or classified information. Moreover, during this follow-up review, the FBI could not identify for us the contents of many of the lost and stolen laptops, including whether they contained sensitive or classified information.
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