President Clinton Data On Hard Drive Lost By National Archives

The drive contains snapshots of the hard drives of departing administration officials, information that had been stored on 113 4-mm tape cartridges.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

May 21, 2009

2 Min Read

A 2-TB Western Digital external hard drive containing copies of data from the presidency of Bill Clinton has gone missing, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has confirmed.

NARA describes itself as "the nation's record keeper."

NARA personnel discovered that the drive was missing on March 24 and reported the incident to senior NARA officials in April 2 after a search for the drive failed. It subsequently notified US-CERT, the White House Counsel's Office, staff of NARA's House and Senate oversight committees, and a representative of former President Clinton.

The agency is preparing to issue a breach notification to individuals who may be affected.

In a statement, NARA said that it "takes very seriously the loss of an external hard drive that contained copies of electronic storage tapes from the Executive Office of the President of the Clinton Administration." The agency said that it has reviewed its internal information controls and improved its security processes.

The agency's inspector general is conducting an investigation to determine who should be notified and whether additional action is warranted. NARA is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the return of the hard drive.

The drive holds an unknown amount of personal information about White House staff and visitors, including names and Social Security numbers. It contains snapshots of the hard drives of departing administration officials, information that had been stored on 113 4-mm tape cartridges.

The original tapes and a backup hard drive remains in NARA's possession.

A NARA spokesperson did not immediately respond with information about individuals believed to be affected.

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About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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