Jose Luis Magana/AP
ATF Director Michael Sullivan

Audit Reveals ATF Lost Weapons, Laptops

September 17, 2008 05:34 PM
by Josh Katz
A Justice Dept. report says that the ATF has lost 418 laptops and 76 weapons over the last five years, a revelation reminiscent of some recent Air Force gaffes.
A Justice Department audit released Wednesday revealed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “was unable to account for 76 weapons and 418 laptops over the past five years,” CNN reports. Fifty of the 418 laptops were stolen, according to the report, and the inspector general cited carelessness as the reason for the disappearance of 53 percent of the lost weapons.

The Department of Treasury conducted the last audit of the ATF in 2002. The rate of loss from the recent audit is about triple that of the one before it, Fox News writes, and is also almost double that of the FBI and DEA.

Two of the ATF’s missing guns were later used to commit crimes.

In a statement, ATF Assistant Director W. Larry Ford said, “ATF is revising procedures for reporting losses and will issue a memorandum to all employees as a reminder of their responsibility to account for losses in a timely manner.”

The Air Force has experienced a string of recent mistakes and oversight failures, as well. In July, three crew members fell asleep holding classified missile launch code devices at Minot Air Force base in North Dakota. Last August, Air Force leadership came under fire for an incident also stemming from Minot, in which the service accidentally flew nuclear-armed cruise missiles across the United States and then left them unmonitored. And in March, news surfaced that the Air Force had mistakenly shipped classified, nuclear materials to Taiwan.

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