Desperate US offers 25,000 dollars for missing State Department laptop http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/article.html?s=asia/headlines/000810/world/afp/Desperate_US_offers_25_000_dollars_for_missing_State_Department_laptop.html Thursday, August 10 4:20 AM SGT WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (AFP) - Apparently frustrated and desperate for leads after months of fruitless investigation, the United States on Wednesday announced a 25,000-dollar reward for the return of a missing State Department laptop computer containing classified information. "At this point in the investigation, it was time to put out a reward of 25,000 dollars if anybody can identify the machine and bring it to us," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. FBI and department security agents who have been on the trail of the laptop since it was reported missing in January, had been quietly spreading word of the reward since May but it had not widely known until Wednesday, he said. 1. The laptop went missing in January. That is *eight* months ago. In that time, the laptop could be anywhere in the world, destroyed, formatted, etc. It could be sitting in the state department, resold back to them for all they know. 2. No offer of immunity with this reward. If the person who stole it still has it, an offer of immunity from prosecution on this crime might lead them to return it, especially if they cough up the reward. Who is most likely to know where the laptop is... 3. Why isn't there a reward for the capture/prosecution/lynching of the *moron* who left this type of information unencrypted, then allowed the laptop to be stolen. I think it safe to say the laptop wasn't stolen off his/her desk at work. Fliers and posters describing the computer -- "a black Dell laptop with a five-digit serial number ending in the letter 'Q' located on a sticker in the back near the ports," according to Boucher -- were being posted in pawn shops and computer stores around the country, he said. 4. Ooh, this narrows it down a bit! Why didn't the auditing/accounting division of the state department have a full serial number? What model was the laptop? The description above is plenty vague. Boucher brushed aside questions about whether such a description of the computer might not alert otherwise ignorant spies or criminals to the laptop's importance. "If people with nefarious goals took it, they they probably know what they've got already," he said. 5. And if not.... they have alerted every spook in the world to the importance of the information contained on it. Good move. "If people thought they were just swiping a laptop or pawning it or fencing it or whatever, it doesn't really matter to them what's on it and this reward might induce them to look at the laptops and turn it over." Maybe eight months ago when it was fresh in their minds. If this was a simple theft for hardware, do you think the perp will remember such details? "Oh wow, that matches the description of the 18th laptop I stole this year from that car in back of the strip club..." The State Department has never revealed the type of information contained on the missing computer, but some reports have said it includes extremely senstitive data about nuclear weapons and arms control issues. And this information was stored on anything less than a strong encrypted file system with solid security measures in place?! Screw the thief. Convict the state department morons that let this happen.