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US Customs Loses Thousands of Computers, Weapons, Badges - 2002-08-09

A government report reveals that thousands of U.S. Customs Service computers, weapons and employee badges were lost or stolen between 1998 and 2001.

The report by the Treasury Department's Inspector General determined that more than 2,200 computers, at least 600 credentials and about 70 weapons disappeared.

Senator Charles Grassley, who requested an audit of Customs Service equipment, said the failure to keep track of these items poses a serious threat to national security and public safety.

A spokesman for the Customs Service said his agency has worked hard to improve the security lapses. He said the agency will begin annual inventories of its computers this year, and will take better steps to keep track of badges and credentials.