The US Marshal Service has lost track of approximately 2,000 encrypted two-way radios and other communication devices with a value of more than $6 millions.
Some of the Marshal officials regard the problem as a security risk for federal judges, witnesses and others, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Marshal Service guards judges and federal courthouses. It also runs the Witness Security Program that offers new identities and security to witnesses or their families whose lives might be at risk.
According to Marshals officials, there is a possibility that criminals could gain access to radios and misuse them to obtain details of security or law-enforcement operations.
The trouble goes back to at least as early as 2011 when the Marshals Service was beginning to use new versions of the radios to establish communications.
The agency leaders were warned about the problems by an internal technology office and even though they had difficulty tracking their equipment, they failed to pursue the matter.
"This issue is in large part attributable to poor record keeping as a result of an older property-management system, as opposed to equipment being lost,” said USMS spokesman Drew Wade.
According to a 2011 presentation by the agency's Office of Strategic Technology, "It is apparent that negligence and incompetence has resulted in a grievous mismanagement of millions of dollars of USMS property."
"Simply put, the entire system is broken and drastic measures need to be taken to address the issues…The 800 pound elephant in the room needs to finally be acknowledged," the presentation noted.