Monday, May 31, 2004
DEA in a dither

I'm not one to take pleasure in other's misfortune but I can't deny feeling some delight in this story. It appears as many as 100 Drug Enforcement Administration investigations around the country could be compromised because a laptop computer that contains sensitive data, including information about many informants, is missing.

The computer was first reported stolen three weeks ago by an auditor for the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, which was conducting a routine review of DEA payments to informants.

The auditor at first said the computer which contained more than 4,000 pages of case-file data was stolen from his car but has since changed his story and said he disposed of it in a dumpster after he accidentally damaged it. Either way, DEA are reported to be livid.

The incident is a particular embarrassment for Inspector General Glenn Fine's office, which has taken on an expanded watchdog role under Attorney General John Ashcroft. Only two years ago, the IG issued a blistering report criticizing Justice agencies, including the DEA and the FBI, for failure to maintain adequate controls on sensitive items—including their laptop computers.

One official said, "This is a sin in our business."

I don't know, it kind of feels like an act of God to me.

[link via Drudge]


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