By Kathryn Watson
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform leaders want to know how and why Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials lost 165 firearms in three years.
Panel chairman and Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Subcommittee on National Security Chairman and Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis asked for DHS inventory records and policies in a letter Friday to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
The letter was prompted after the news website Complete Colorado reported last month that DHS marked 1,300 badges, 589 cell phones and scores of firearms lost or stolen between 2012 and 2015. DHS’s poor firearms security “shows that the department is consistently unable to safeguard sensitive property,” the congressmen wrote.
“The fact that hundreds of badges and cell phones are missing gives rise to a variety of different security threat possibilities,” the letter said. “It is particularly troubling, however, that the department cannot account for its entire inventory of firearms.”
Homeland Security has had problems with misplaced firearms in the past. The agency lost 289 firearms from 2006 through 2008, the DHS Office of Inspector General found in 2010.
Chaffetz and Santos gave Johnson until March 4 to provide all documents related to property lost or stolen between 2012 and 2015, along with a cost estimate for each missing item and agency procedures for reporting lost or stolen property.