If you were up to no good and looking to cause a bit of mayhem – particularly at the border – think of some of the tools you might like to get hold of. Explosives and weapons are a given, natch. But what if you could get your hands on some honest to goodness credentials making it look like you were a federal law enforcement official? Well start checking on E-bay because there may be some out there. A new report indicates that the Department of Homeland Security has somehow “lost track” of many of their badges, guns and government cell phones. (Fox News)
Hundreds of badges, credentials, cell phones and guns belonging to Department of Homeland Security employees have been lost or stolen in recent years — raising serious security concerns about the potential damage these missing items could do in the wrong hands.
Inventory reports, obtained by the news site Complete Colorado and shared with FoxNews.com, show that over 1,300 badges, 165 firearms and 589 cell phones were lost or stolen over the span of 31 months between 2012 and 2015.
The majority of the credentials belonged to employees of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), while others belonged to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees.
1,300 badges in four years seems like an awful lot, doesn’t it? We shouldn’t assume that each and every one of them wound up in the hands of terrorists and other assorted criminals, of course. There are probably some that get left in the wash, wind up in a landfill when they are accidentally dropped in the trash or are picked up by the maid when an agent checks out of a hotel in a hurry. But still, even accounting for random, innocent loss, that’s an alarming amount of official ID to go missing.
The cell phones are less disturbing and more easily dealt with. Other agencies probably break as many as DHS lost anyway, and as soon as a phone goes missing you can have the service shut off. As for the guns… well, it’s always extremely disturbing when a law enforcement weapon goes missing, but after Fast and Furious we may have saturated the market anyway. Besides, Homeland Security is hardly the only agency where this problem takes place. All of DHS lost 165 guns in three years, but check out what’s been going on in San Francisco. (NBC News)
An NBC Bay Area investigation into the loss and theft of police firearms uncovered more than 500 weapons have gone missing from eight different law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and six local departments since 2010.
The investigation found the problem of lost and stolen law enforcement weapons goes far beyond the gun stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger’s vehicle in San Francisco. That gun was later tied to the shooting death of Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco on July 1, 2015, police confirm.
NBC Bay Area’s investigation uncovered hundreds of guns missing from Bay Area law enforcement agencies, stolen from officers’ homes or vehicles, or simply unaccounted for. The BLM, the agency responsible for the gun that killed Steinle, did not respond to NBC Bay Area’s open records requests submitted in July, shortly after the shooting, and the question of how many firearms that federal agency can’t account for remains open.
At some point I should really try to compile all of these reports from across the nation. The numbers are probably enough to turn your hair gray. But now that everyone is feeling nice and safe and secure, I’ll leave you to go about your business.