Thousands of sensitive assets belonging to U.S. Secret Service agents, including firearms, computer laptops, work badges, telephones and even motor vehicles, have been lost during the past 15 years, according to documents obtained by nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch.
“This is supposedly an elite law enforcement agency — how did all this equipment get stolen?” or lost. “This is alarming. Every American should be alarmed about this,” Judicial Watch’s Irene Garcia told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Secret Service agents reported 11,780 lost or stolen assets between fiscal years 2001 and 2016, according to the data Judicial Watch received, although the agency didn’t distinguish between lost and stolen items.
A total of 121 “weapons/pistols” were lost or stolen from 2001 through 2016, including 69 in 2002 alone. The Secret Service also reported 736 cell phones, 571 badges and six vehicles as lost or stolen in that same period.
But uncategorized or “all remaining” assets account for 4,644 of the 11,780 lost or stolen items. More assets were lost or stolen in fiscal year 2004 than any other year — 1,362, most of which were uncategorized.
This new information suggests that sporadic news reports in recent years about the Secret Service agents losing cell phones and guns were snapshots of a larger problem.
“Honestly, it’s baffling,” Garcia said.
The Secret Service took nearly a year to answer Judicial Watch’s December 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documentation on all assets reported missing since 2001. Judicial Watch made the request as a part of a larger investigation.