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Nicholson said the theft of the data took place this month, but declined to identify the employee or the location of the burglary.
Originally posted by grover
lovely...well I am not worried...while I am a veteran, the last time someone tried to steal my ID they ended up begging me to take it back.
A day after the government announced the loss of sensitive personal information on more than 26 million U.S. veterans, questions remain about how truly deep the problem is. That's because officials admit that data from some veterans' family members was lost, too. Veterans are asked to provide the Social Security numbers of their spouses and children.
A long-time Veterans Affairs analyst told Montgomery County, Md., police someone pried open a window, broke into his home during daylight hours and stole a computer, an external drive, and a bag containing computer files.
The material included the veterans' Social Security numbers, birthdates and in some cases a disability rating — a score of between 1 to 100 on how disabled a veteran is. The agency declined to say whether additional information regarding the nature of the disability was disclosed.
"This is a scandal," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "The information was kept from the American public. I would hope that the administration is figuring out a way to find out what happened."
In a briefing Monday, Nicholson said the agency was seeking to act promptly to inform veterans by notifying Congress and setting up a call center and Web site. Meanwhile, in a briefing paper to Congress, acting VA Inspector General Jon Wooditch said he was reviewing the theft from a VA data analyst's Maryland home, noting that his office had long cautioned that access controls were weak.
Since 2001, the inspector general has reported security vulnerabilities related to the operating system, passwords, a lack of strong detection alerts and a need for better access controls, he wrote.
Personal data on up to 50,000 active Navy and National Guard personnel were among those stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee last month, the government said Saturday in a disclosure that goes beyond what VA initially reported.
VA Secretary Jim Nicholson said in a statement that his agency discovered after an internal investigation that the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth of up to 20,000 National Guard and Reserve personnel who were on at least their second active-duty call-up were “potentially included.”
In addition, the same information on up to 30,000 active-duty Navy personnel who completed their first enlistment term prior to 1991 also were believed to stored on the computer laptop and disks stolen from a VA data analyst at his Aspen Hill, Md., home on May 3.
The class-action lawsuit against the federal government, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, is the second suit since the VA disclosed the May 3 burglary two weeks ago.
It demands that the VA fully disclose which military personnel are affected by the data theft and seeks $1,000 in damages to each person - up to $26.5 billion total. The veterans are also asking for a court order barring VA employees from using sensitive data until independent experts determine proper safeguards.
Files containing personal information on 287 employees, patients and former patients at a state mental hospital have been stolen - creating the risk of identity theft.
The paper files were in a briefcase taken April 21 from a hospital employee's car while it was parked at Bear Creek Park in southwest Denver.
The employee of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan had taken the files home to work on, said Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the state human services department.