US Marshals lost track of two terrorists who were in witness protection program

If you think that's good news, here's some more; the IG report that discovered the missing terrorists also found "significant national security vulnerabilties," including the problem that the department doesn't know how many terrorists are actually in the witness protection program.

I feel safer already.


As of March 2013, the Justice Department was reviewing more than 18,000 program case files to determine whether more known or suspected terrorists have been admitted, the summary notes. As such, the number of terrorists lost or unaccounted for "may not be complete and may continue to evolve."

The summary said that although the Marshals Service was giving known or suspected terrorists who participated in the witness program and their dependents new names and identity documents, the Justice Department "was not authorizing the disclosure to a federal center that operates a terrorist watch list that helps provide information to the Transportation Security Administration's "no-fly" database.

"Therefore it was possible for known or suspected terrorists to fly on commercial airplanes in or over the United States and evade one of the government's primary means of identifying and tracking terrorists' movements and actions," the summary said.

The inspector general's office notified the Justice Department of the problems and in the middle of remedying them, the Marshals Service discovered it could not account for the two missing people.

A Justice Department official who spoke to reporters about the matter said on Thursday that the agency knows the whereabouts of witness program participants.

"As for the two people you're talking about, we know they left the country years ago, they left the program years ago, they have been accounted for. There has been no information provided that they have ever returned to the United States," according to the official.

"They have been accounted for" is bureaucratese for "we don't know where they are but we don't carry them on the books anymore so who's counting?"

The country is in the very best of hands.

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