Published October 18, 2011
In an ironic twist, President Obama's Teleprompter had an unscripted moment when it was apparently stolen along with a stash of other audio equipment inside a truck awaiting the president's arrival in Virginia.
The Defense Information System Agency on Tuesday confirmed the theft of the truck, which was later recovered, but said no sensitive information was lost.
"No classified or sensitive information was in the vehicle," the agency said in a statement. "We take incidents such as this very seriously, and a formal investigation is continuing in coordination with relevant law enforcement agencies."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he was "aware" of the incident, adding "there is not a concern" about the equipment and information that was inside the truck.
The truck was stolen in Henrico County outside Richmond. It was stationed there in advance of a presidential visit on Wednesday, while the president started his bus tour in North Carolina.
The theft does not appear to be related to a bill by freshman Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., who in February proposed defunding the president's Teleprompter. He pulled his bill after the Congressional Budget Office told Womack it could not estimate the cost of toting around the equipment affectionately known as TOTUS -- Teleprompter of the United States. Womack's office did not have any comment on its recovery.
The incident was first reported by NBC12 in Richmond. According to the network, authorities found the truck Monday afternoon in a Holiday Inn Express parking lot. NBC12 reported that the truck contained about $200,000 worth of equipment -- including podiums and presidential seals, sound equipment and the Teleprompter.
A Defense Information System Agency spokeswoman would not say whether anything was stolen from the truck before the thieves ditched it.