News
News
6/29/2006
02:12 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

FBI Recovers Stolen Veterans Affairs Laptop

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the FBI aren't saying much about how or where they recovered the laptop and its external hard drive, but they did say the database containing 26.5 million personnel identities was intact and hadn't been accessed.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that it has recovered a laptop and external hard drive containing 26.5 million veteran and active-duty military personnel identities.

The FBI said its preliminary examination of the hardware "has determined that the data base remains intact and has not been accessed since it was stolen," the Associated Press reported. The FBI is planning additional forensics tests.

The computer was turned in by an unidentified person on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the law enforcement agency, which has been investigating the data loss since it was made public in mid-May, said that the person had not been charged and was not a suspect in the May 3 burglary of a Veterans Affairs data analyst's home. The analyst had taken home the hardware and the database containing the personal records to work on a project after hours.

The FBI and VA had posted a $50,000 reward for the return of the computer and hard drive, but it's unknown if the person who brought in the gear will be eligible for the bounty.

The well-publicized theft led to hearings in the Senate and House, the dismissal of at least one manager in Veterans Affairs, and a recent memo from the White House's Office of Management and Budget with new security recommendations for all federal agencies.

In late May, VA Inspector General George Opfer told a joint Congressional hearing that the analyst had been taking home data for years. Recent documents acquired by the Associated Press showed that the analyst had received permission in 2002 to work with massive numbers of records that included Social Security numbers, and was allowed to take data off VA premises.

The analyst, still unnamed, is currently contesting his dismissal from the agency.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Oct. 20, 2014
Energy and weather agencies are busting long-held barriers to analyzing big data. Can the feds now get other government agencies into the movement?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.