House Republicans are pressing the Department of Homeland Security for answers following a FoxNews.com report that hundreds of badges, cell phones and guns belonging to DHS employees were lost or stolen.
House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in a Feb. 19 letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, called it “particularly troubling … that the Department cannot account for its entire inventory of firearms.”
The letter, co-signed by Subcommittee on National Security Chairman Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., cited the FoxNews.com report and asked for documents on the lost or stolen items by next week.
Inventory reports obtained by the news site Complete Colorado and shared with FoxNews.com showed that over 1,300 badges, 165 firearms and 589 cell phones were lost or stolen over the span of 31 months between 2012 and 2015. The DHS did not dispute the inventory report data.
In their letter, Chaffetz and DeSantis pointed to a 2010 inspector general report that found the DHS “did not adequately safeguard and control its firearms,” and reported 289 firearms lost between 2006 and 2008.
“The more recent news regarding the loss of an additional 165 firearms over a 31-month period shows that the Department is consistently unable to safeguard sensitive property,” the letter said.
The letter requests documents showing the inventory of lost and stolen property between fiscal 2012 and 2015, as well as the cost and procedures implemented for reporting lost or stolen property.
In an earlier statement to FoxNews.com, a DHS spokesman said they strive to be “good stewards of government resources” and have improved oversight and reduced the number of lost or stolen items over the past few years.
“If a credential holder loses or has their credentials stolen, the holder must report the incident to their supervisor and credential issuance office immediately,” spokesman Justin Greenberg said. “Once the incident has been reported, this information is entered into appropriate DHS and law enforcement databases, which disables use of the lost or stolen item."
FoxNews.com's Adam Shaw contributed to this report.