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Two more laptops missing from U.S. State Department

graphic

May 5, 2000
Web posted at: 3:24 p.m. EDT (1924 GMT)


In this story:

Albright 'furious' over security lapses

Missing laptop not 'password protected'

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



WASHINGTON -- Two days after Secretary of State Madeleine Albright chastised employees for security lapses, two more laptop computers have been reported missing from the State Department, a department official said Friday.

The State Department said one of the missing laptops was signed out to Assistant Secretary of State for Policy and Planning Morton Halperin, who has offices on the same floor as Albright.

The department said it didn't know who signed out the other missing computer.

Word of the missing computers followed the disappearance in February of a laptop containing highly sensitive information. The department said the latest computers to go missing did not contain classified data.

Albright 'furious' over security lapses

Albright called employees to a "town hall" meeting on Wednesday to discuss security. She said she was "furious" about the first missing laptop -- and last year's discovery of a Russian-style listening device in a seventh-floor State Department conference room.

According to sources, during a closed-door meeting Thursday before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Albright said the State Department didn't know whether any other laptops might be missing because the department did not keep inventory records on the computers.

A department official said the computers were found to be missing during an inventory ordered after the first laptop disappeared.

Missing laptop not 'password protected'

The disappearance of the first laptop was a serious embarrassment to the State Department, coming after last year's discovery of the eavesdropping device in the conference room. A Russian diplomat was expelled for listening to the transmissions.

The classified laptop was not "password protected" and the data was "not encrypted," U.S. sources familiar with the investigation told CNN.

In other words, if someone were to turn the computer on, they would immediately have access to all the classified data stored in the computer, according to the sources. It contained several thousand pages of highly classified documents on proliferation issues, including so-called "code word" material about sources and methods used to gather intelligence.

"Code word" is a level of classification higher than top-secret. The computer contained information on what "various countries were doing to proliferate weapons of mass destruction technologies," one official explained.

At Wednesday's meeting, Albright harangued State Department staff on the need for tighter security in the building.

State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel and Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Weapon information, spy techniques on missing U.S. State Department computer
May 3, 2000
DOD Web-watchers find war plans online
April 26, 2000
'Highly classified' State Department computer missing
April 17, 2000
U.S. knew of State Department bug for months
December 9, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Department of State -- Bureau of Intelligence and Research
U.S. State Department, Official Web Site
Federal Bureau of Investigation - Home Page

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