Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

STATEMENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS ON VA DATA THEFT

STATEMENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS ON VA DATA THEFT

Earlier today, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary R. James Nicholson announced that sensitive data collected by the government, containing the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for approximately 26.5 million veterans was stolen from a VA official who had removed this data from VA and taken it home. The Secretary was unable to immediately share the exact number of VA employees or others who have access to this sensitive data, not have we been given the exact reasons why this employee removed the data, some of which reportedly included very sensitive information such as veterans' disability ratings, from the VA.

The Secretary stated that each veteran will be notified that their personal information has been compromised. A number of law enforcement agencies are working to recover this data.

Is it a mystifying and gravely serious concern that a VA data analyst would be permitted to just walk out the VA door with such information. Further, VA must determine who else has access to this type of onformation, restrict such access to essential personnel only and enforce that internal restriction. The Secretary stated that VA would take steps to assure VA employees complete their special training for safeguarding such information.

The Committee has held a number of oversight hearings in the past on other more limited electronic releases of veterans' personal information and on what we view as the casual approach some at VA have taken to the importance of safeguarding personal information. Additionally, the VA has not demonstrated an exemplary track record in recent years enforcing its own internal controls or accountability mechanisms.

*If this info is used to start "making" credit cards and so on and so forth, I think this administration should take up the responsibility of having to pay each and every bill that is brought upon these veterans. How great are the Rpublicans on national security now? Hasn't this administration done enough to our veterans already? Now this!

But, "I told you so" is not an adequate response on Congress' part. The potential for significant harm if the compromised information should fall into the wrong hands is clear. Examples of problems have appeared in the recent past at VA and ample warnings have been given by our Committee.

The number one problem with this data loss is the potential for identity theft. Over 26 million veterans and their families are at financial risk should their identities be stolen and used for the personal gain of others. This information could also be of value to business interests which focus on veterans and their families in the course of their business dealings. While VA is taking necessary steps to inform the veterans whose private information was compromised, knowledge of that very compromise may create additional stresses in the lives of those veterans. Finally, the sensitive disability rating information included with the compromised data may create other potential problems.

This breach--and any lag from discovery to public revelation---must receive attention from the very top. We must know who is able to access the data entrusted to them by our citizenry. Everything should be on the table to mitigate and correct this serious information privacy breach and ensure that the personal information of our veterans is protected and safeguarded in the future---including possible legislation to "make whole" anyone who suffered harm as a result of this compromise.

Lane Evans, Ranking Democratic Member
Bob Filner
Luis Gutierrez
Corrine Brown
Michael Michaud
Stephanie Herseth
Ted Strickland
Darlene Hooley
Silvestre Reyes
Shelley Berkley
Tom Udall
John Salazar

Source: The Office of House Democratic Leader
Representative Nancy Pelosi
May 22, 2006

*I've got a feeling that there is more to this than meets the eye. I don't trust this administration as far as I can see them, and then I wouldn't believe them! They'd do anything to get the vote in November. I wonder if Bush is going to come out and make a speach saying that he's going to handle all of this himself and he'll guarantee the veterans that they won't be responsible for identity theft, if it should happen. That's what this administrations is all about. They "would" do something like this! But then you have to take the other route. Bush hasn't done anything for the veterans since he came to office, so why would he do anything to help them now?

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