Fox.com has reported that two agencies within the Department of Homeland Security reportedly lost nearly 1,000 computers in fiscal year 2008, costing taxpayers approximately $13.3 million. According to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by a person at the Independence Institute, inventories of lost, stolen, and damaged equipment indicate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lost at least 985 computers combined.
What Fox.com did not report was a profile of the Independence Institute, well known in Colorado for its over-the-top anti-government activities, and its leader, an outspoken radio talk show host. For example, it annually holds an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms party where a couple hundred attendees “celebrate bullets, booze and tobacco,” according to Colorado media reports. Independence Institute President Jon Caldara told the 2009 party crowd: “Now remember, a year from now President Obama might make all three activities of smoking, drinking and shooting completely illegal. This might be our very, very last opportunity.” At the event, attendees also shot skeet decorated with pictures of President Obama, former President Clinton and Secretary of State Clinton.
Back with the Fox.com news story…
CBP’s total inventory of lost and stolen equipment, or 1,975 pieces, totaled $7.5 million; ICE’s inventory, meanwhile, was 1,547 items, equating to a loss of $5.8 million. “When I look at these inventories with my own eyes, page after page, I still think there’s a good chance that we’re dealing with some significant security breaches, and possibly insider theft,” said the president of the Independence Institute. CBP insists that none of the lost computers contained sensitive or classified data. Other losses, according to the Independence Institute, include 235 night vision scopes by CBP officials and an “international harvester vehicle truck” — valued at $116,349 — on behalf of ICE officials.