US Marshals Just Kind of Lost 2K Radios
Encrypted gadgets' estimated value: $6M
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jul 22, 2013 7:20 AM CDT
A heavily armed United States Marshal stands guard outside the Moakley Federal Court House in Boston after the building was evacuated, Wednesday, April 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – The US Marshals aren't quite sure what happened to some 2,000 of their encrypted two-way radios—gear that's worth at least $6 million, according to one estimate. The agency says the "issue is in large part attributable to poor record-keeping as a result of an older property-management system, as opposed to equipment being lost," the Wall Street Journal reports. Still, officials cite a major problem: "Simply put, the entire system is broken," agents said in a 2011 presentation. "The 800 pound elephant in the room needs to finally be acknowledged."

As of March, the Marshals were aware of 2,200 communications devices that were missing or unaccounted for; more recent counts have put the figure closer to 4,000, insiders say. The loss of the equipment, which the presentation blamed on "negligence and incompetence," could be dangerous for the witnesses and federal judges the Marshals protect, some officials say. If the devices ended up in the wrong hands, criminals could intercept sensitive messages—and indeed, a radio appeared on eBay a few years ago. When an employee bought it back, it showed evidence of tampering. The Journal also finds evidence that the agency tried to keep the matter quiet.

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
People_Suck
Jul 22, 2013 11:10 PM CDT
Looks like the drug cartels just got early Christmas presents.
savdavis
Jul 22, 2013 7:35 PM CDT
haliburton happened on BUSH'S WATCH.....
NorCalHal
Jul 22, 2013 4:58 PM CDT
Gee, let me see. Did THIS happen under Bush's watch too? The US Marshals report to the Justice Department headed by Eric Holder. Just wondering if ANYONE will be held accountable by this administration for losing $ 6 million in senstitive, classified and restricted equipment ?