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[ISN] Energy reports losing 1,400 laptops in six years


By Patience Wait and Joab Jackson

The Energy Department notified Congress yesterday that it has lost 1,427 
laptop PCs over the past six years. The department said none of the 
laptops contained classified information.

The figure represents approximately two percent of its current inventory 
of laptop computers, or approximately 71,874 units used either by agency 
personnel or contractors.

The Energy Department statement broke down the missing laptops by year, 
with 144 reported missing for 2001, 248 in 2002, 256 in 2003, 258 in 
2004, 223 in 2005 and 205 in 2006. Another 81 laptops were identified as 
missing, though the years those went missing were not disclosed. The 
agency revealed the information in response to a Freedom of Information 
Act request filed by WTOP, a Washington, D.C., news radio station.

As a result of these findings, which track missing units up until June 
2006, Energy secretary Samuel Bodman directed a full inventory of 
laptops, which subsequently recovered 100 of these units, Energy 
spokeswoman Megan Barnett said.

Since his appointment in 2005, Bodman has recognized that "management 
deficiencies have been an issue throughout the history of the 
department," Barnett said. "He has been working to fully identify 
weaknesses and correct them at their source," in regards to computer 
inventory control.

Barnett added that the laptop issue is "is something that has been 
developing over many years."

Of the stolen or lost laptops, the agency stated none carried classified 
information. Two laptops possibly held personal information (one had a 
resume and the other carried a performance evaluation), and one laptop 
possibly had an internal "Office Use Only" document.

Nine of the laptops used encryption software.

None of the individuals whom the missing laptops were issued to received 
disciplinary actions for the misplacement of the laptops.

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