The Department of Homeland Security has revealed it lost thousands of badges and hundreds of firearms in the past few years, in compliance with a Colorado news outlet’s Freedom of Information Act request.
Inventory reports obtained by Complete Colorado show various DHS agencies reported more than 1,300 badges and credentials were either lost or stolen in recent years. DHS agencies also reported 165 firearms and 589 cell phones were lost or stolen.
“It’s scary that you’d have that number of credentials out there that someone could manipulate,” retired Secret Service special agent Tim Miller told Fox News.
The losses and thefts were reported on a spreadsheet of lost, damaged and destroyed items provided to Complete Colorado during the 31 months from October, 2012, through April, 2015. Most of the lost or stolen badges and belonged to Customs and Border Protection employees.
The missing badges obviously represent a security threat if they should or have ended up in the wrong hands. Former Undersecretary of Homeland Security Michael Brown told Complete Colorado the reported losses are grounds for the DHS inspector general to investigate.
Michael Brown, former Undersecretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA, said the lost badges and credentials represents a serious enough security problem to warrant an investigation by the DHS inspector general.
“Possession of these kinds of credentials gives terrorists or criminals the basic information needed to counterfeit other credentials,” Brown told Complete Colorado. “For example, a terrorist cell could use these credentials or counterfeited credentials to access public events posing as law enforcement officials, bypassing security measures designed to detect explosives or other contraband.”
DHS spokesman Justin Greenberg told Fox News the agency strives to be “good stewards” of government resources. “If a credential holder loses or has their credentials stolen, the holder must report the incident to their supervisor and credential issuance office immediately,” he said. “Once the incident has been reported, this information is entered into appropriate DHS and law enforcement databases, which disables use of the lost or stolen item.”
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