Washington DC – Several hundred to possibly a thousand laptops are missing from the United States State Department, according to an internal audit. Many of the laptops likely contain classified information and as many as 400 computers belonged to the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program which provides counterterrorism training to other nations.
According to CQ Politics, the department has dispatched vans to locations throughout the Washington DC area in an attempt to locate and recover the missing computers. According to one source, up to $30 million dollars in equipment is missing and laptops comprise 99% of that total.
Unfortunately, most of the laptops are probably unencrypted as the State Department is still in the planning stages of implementing full-disk encryption for its laptops.
The audit is still in its early stages and it’s likely that the missing laptop count will rise. Sadly this isn’t the first high-profile case of missing government laptops and some readers may remember the epic Veterans Administration loss in 2006. In that case, a VA notebook containing 26.5 million records was stolen. Authorities eventually recovered that laptop.