US Marshals Report Losing Encrypted Radios Worth Millions

A US Marshals Service report claims that at least 2,000 two-way radios are misplaced or lost. This has lead to a call for a full inventory to be taken of all of the agency’s communications equipment. Officials are waiting for the results before making any statements.

CNN says that the report shows that many of the radios stolen were encrypted. These types of radios are made for agency use for surveillance and preventing criminals from listening in.

Other communications devices were also said to be missing. Together with the radios, the losses could be in the millions of dollars.

Documents show that started in 2011 or earlier. It was then that the US Marshals began phasing out older radios and replacing them with newer models. Business Insider reports that concerns were raised before the transition about there being problems tracking the old devices.

The report says that this issue is the result of “apparent negligence and incompetence.” This lead to the “grievous mismanagement of millions of dollars in USMS property,” adds the report. The report advises a complete rebuilding of the system used to track important equipment. As it is, “the entire system is broken,” says the report.

Some US Marshals say they are concerned about the waste of millions of dollars. But more than that, if radios have been lost, it could be a safety concern.

It is unknown whether these possible radio losses have been used by criminals. Some US Marshals say that this was a concern they have. Someone with one of these devices would possibly use it for criminal purposes and may endanger officers’ lives.

The US Marshals Service protects people in the witness protection program as well as federal judges and courts. They also track down dangerous fugitives.

US Marshals are continuing to count their radio equipment and have not yet reported missing items.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons / USMS]