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FBI admits loss of ‘top secret’ laptop

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The FBI is frantically hunting for a lost laptop containing top-secret (X?) files. The computer went missing from a conference room in the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research two months ago. The FBI still hasn't found the culprits responsible or recovered the machine, and yesterday said it had launched an investigation into the loss. Its search for possible suspects includes contractors employed to renovate the area, The Washington Post reported. An internal audit last year apparently found the Department allowed visitors, contractors and maintenance workers to roam the building unescorted. The missing laptop is believed to contain code-word data - a classification higher than top secret. Representative Benjamin Gilman (Republican, New York), Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said he would hold hearings next month on allegations of lax security. "The missing laptop is the latest in a long string of security failures at the State Department," he said. "It is obvious that the Department lacks a professional environment that is sensitive to security concerns." Bureau officials speculated publicly that the thief may have taken the machine for its hardware value, and may not have been aware of its sensitive data contents. Of course he certainly is now. Earlier this month a machine was nicked from a top UK Army officer while he was queuing at Heathrow airport, with agents from both MI5 and MI6 suffering similar fates in March. ® Related stories Sneak thief steals secrets in MI5 laptop Second spy loses laptop Third secret-packed official notebook nicked

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