The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has lost “at least” 2,000 encrypted radios “and other communication devices valued at millions of dollars.” If the equipment falls into the wrong hands, it could pose a “security risk for federal judges, endangered witnesses and others.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, agency officials were made aware that equipment losses were taking place in 2011.
The report issued at that time said in part:
It is apparent that negligence and incompetence has resulted in grievous mismanagement of millions of dollars of USMS property. Simply put, the entire system is broken and drastic measures need to be taken to address the issues…The 800 pound elephant in the room need to finally be acknowledged.
Now, two years later, the amount of equipment missing is not only costly but could pose a threat to USMS operations. If the encrypted radios fall into the wrong hands, those in possession of them may figure out how to listen to details of ongoing investigations–basically allowing the criminal to remain one step ahead of the USMS.
Agency officials are holding out hope that most of the radios were not lost or stolen, but were instead given to other federal agencies “or disposed of without anyone keeping track of them.”
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