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Feds Missing Two More Laptops

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has discovered two more laptop computer to be missing. One was signed out to a senior official, Morton H. Halperin, the assistant secretary of state for policy planning.

Spokesman Richard Boucher said the computers were found to be missing during an inventory ordered after the unexplained disappearance in February of a laptop computer containing highly classified information.

Boucher said only the computer that disappeared in February was known to have classified material in it.

Suggesting other equipment may be missing as well, Boucher said, ``Once we have completed that inventory, we'll tell you how many computers we've got and which ones are missing and which ones are not.''

The chairman of the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence told The Associated Press, meanwhile, that ``there is not sufficient awareness, or sufficient attention, to security'' at the State Department.

``There is an arrogance — we know better, we don't have to do anything about it,'' said Rep. Porter J. Goss, R-Fla.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright testified at a closed committee hearing Thursday. Goss said he did not include her in his description.

In fact, he said, ``it is fair to characterize the secretary of state as being in complete agreement'' that insufficient attention was paid to classified material.

Goss did not provide details of her testimony; rules of the committee prohibit that. He said, though, that ``she used the word `appalled.' The fact that she was willing to fix things and go forward is very good news.''

On Wednesday, Albright, furious about recent security lapses, delivered a strong plea to department employees for greater vigilance to protect secret material.

New security measures are likely to be adopted, including tightened restrictions on where visitors with building passes may go.

Albright has told principal supervisory personnel to stress the importance of security to their staffs. In addition, annual refresher security briefings will be intensified, with mandatory attendance for all appropriate department employees.

Officials have said the first missing laptop contained large quantities of documents about arms proliferation issues and highly sensitive information about sources and methods of U.S. intelligence collection.

Earlier, a bugging device was found in a conference room.
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