U.S. Veterans' Data Files Stolen
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday, May 22, 2006, that a computer disk containing electronic data files with the names and birth dates of "about 26.5 million veterans and some of their spouses, along with 19.6 million Social Security numbers"  had been "stolen from the residence of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee who had taken the data home without authorization." 
Speaking before Congress on May 24, 2006, "VA Inspector General George Opfer detailed a series of missteps leading to one of the nation's largest information security breaches. He noted that his office only became aware of the May 3  burglary through office gossip." Congress also learned that the "Veterans Affairs data analyst who lost the personal data ... improperly took the information home for three years before the data was stolen." 
VA Secretary R. James "Jim" Nicholson told the "House Veterans' Affairs Committee and a joint hearing of the Senate veterans and homeland-security committees" that the theft included the records of veterans "who have been discharged since 1975, plus veterans receiving VA disability compensation" and "some numerical disability ratings and diagnostic codes that identify their disability." "'Not included,'" Nicholson said, "were any VA electronic health records or 'explicit financial information.'" 
"VA officials told the committees that there was no evidence of a focused effort to steal data on veterans. A number of CDs containing sensitive VA data were left in the house after the burglary, VA Inspector General George Opfer testified. ... Nicholson said the employee whose home was burglarized has been placed on administrative leave." 
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- Mary Mosquera, "VA data files on millions of veterans stolen," GCN, May 22, 2006.
- Will Dunham, "Personal data on millions of US veterans stolen," Reuters (Boston Globe), May 22, 2006.
- Christopher Lee, "Personal Data of 26.5 Million Veterans Stolen," Washington Post, May 22, 2006.
- David Stout and Tom Zeller, Jr., "Vast Data Cache About Veterans Is Stolen," New York Times, May 22, 2006.
- "A Statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs," Washington Post, May 22, 2006.
- "VA's Notification to Veterans," Washington Post, May 22, 2006.
- "Millions Of Veterans' ID Data Stolen. Computer Disks Were Taken From The Home Of A Senior Veterans Affairs Official," Associated Press/CBS News, May 22, 2006.
- "Personal data of 26.5 million veterans stolen," Associated Press (USA Today), May 22, 2006.
- Christopher Lee and Steve Vogel, "Personal Data on Veterans Is Stolen. Burglary Leaves Millions at Risk Of Identity Theft," Washington Post, May 23, 2006.
- "Source: Theft of vets' data kept secret for 19 days. Social Security numbers of 26 million-plus veterans stolen," CNN, May 23, 2006.
- "FBI seeks stolen personal data on 26 million vets. Gonzales, VA secretary say no indication of misuse," CNN, May 23, 2006.
- Pierre Thomas, "Theft of Vets' Info Happened Three Weeks Ago. Veterans Affairs Officials Not Saying Why Investigation Didn't Start Earlier," ABC News, May 23, 2006.
- Emily Bazar, "Congress to hold hearings on theft of veterans' data," USA Today, May 23, 2006.
- Martin Schram, "Culpable mindlessness, both governmental and corporate," Scripps Howard News Service, May 23, 2006.
- David Stout and Tom Zeller, Jr., "Agency Delayed Reporting Theft of Veterans' Data," New York Times, May 23, 2006; appended May 24, 2006.
- Christopher Lee, "Veterans Angered by File Scandal. VA Has Consistently Scored Poorly on Information Security," Washington Post, May 24, 2006.
- Hope Yen, "VA didn't alert FBI for 2 weeks after data heist," Associated Press (Chicago Tribune), May 24, 2006.
- Will Dunham, "Agency response to vet data theft questioned," Reuters, May 24, 2006.
- David Stout, "Department to Investigate Theft of Veterans' Data," New York Times, May 24, 2006.
- David Perera, "VA to shift up to $25 million to handle data theft inquiries," GovExec.com, May 24, 2006.
- Rich Galen, "Criminal Stupidity," Cybercast News Service, May 24, 2006.
- Hope Yen, "Veterans' Data Theft Went Unreported," Associated Press (Washington Times), May 25, 2006.
- "Inspector: VA Warned Of Lax Security. Inspector General Told Congress Department Failed To Heed Years Of Warnings," CBS News / Associated Press, May 25, 2006.
- Daniel Pulliam, "VA mandates new background checks in wake of data loss," GovExec.com, May 25, 2006.
- Samantha L. Quigley, Press Release: "VA Working to Prevent Future Information Loss," American Forces Press Service / U.S. Department of Defense, May 25, 2006.
- Grant Gross, "Lawmaker Calls on VA Head to Resign. Secretary Nicolson called on the carpet for data theft, VA response," IDG News Service (PC World.com), May 25, 2006: "Representative Bob Filner (D-California) questioned Nicholson's commitment to take responsibility for the data theft."
- Joel Rothstein, "U.S. veterans' data theft may cost $500 million," Reuters, May 25, 2006.
- Roger K. Miller, Commentary: "Giving credit where credit isn't due," Washington Times, May 25, 2006.
- Johanna Neumann, "Veterans Chief Is Grilled Over Stolen Data," Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2006: "VA Secretary Nicholson tells angry House and Senate panels that he's outraged. For many on Capitol Hill, and scores of vets, that isn't enough."
- Hope Yen, "VA Breach Discovered Through Office Gossip," Associated Press (Guardian Unlimited (UK)), May 26, 2006.
- William Branigin, "VA chief blames data analyst for theft," Washington Post (Seattle Times), May 26, 2006.
- Christopher Lee, "Worker Often Took Data Home. VA Tracks Practice to 2003; $50,000 Reward Set for Computer," Washington Post, May 26, 2006.