FBI in hunt for missing laptop

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The Independent US

A laptop computer containing classified information has vanished from the US State Department in Washington, it was revealed yesterday. It is the latest in a series of mishaps with the machines among intelligence agencies.

The computer vanished two months ago, and the FBI is investigating whether it was misplaced or stolen. The Washington Post reported that the laptop went missing from the department's highly secretive Bureau of Intelligence and Research and held top-secret information. It quoted a State Department official as saying that the computer contained code-word information, sensitive intelligence information and plans.

The Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, asked the head of diplomatic security, David Carpenter, to make a thorough review of security, as the State Department has had a number of embarrassing security breaches.

Last year, FBI agents discovered a Russian spy lurking outside the department and then an eavesdropping device in a conference room he had been monitoring. In 1998, a man strolled into the executive secretary's office, near Ms Albright's office, helped himself to a sheaf of classified briefing materials and walked out. He was never identified and the materials were not recovered.