Full information is finally seeping out and it turns out that
the records were mostly of veterans and families of veterans discharged after1975.
Although I suspected we werent being told the whole story simply
because I was a Washington-based reporter, I didnt want to say it without
evidence but apparently the VA delayed telling the local police about this and,
when they did, they made it seem like a tiny incident by saying only a fewhundred personal records were stolen.
The original theft occured on May 3.
It took weeks before the VA finally notified the FBI and owned up to the vast size of the theft.
Some commentators have suggested that these records might be worth upwards of $200 to $500 million to crooks.
But I dont want to be nasty, perhaps everyone concerned in the
attempted cover up should spend one day in prison for every person whoseprivate information they exposed to identity thieves.
Certainly if the data falls into the hands of crooks it will
cost every one of those veterans and their families more than a day to fightthe system and attempt to fix the problem.
VA Secretary Jim Nicholson has refused to name the original employee, so let's add him to the "should be in prison" list.
Since the VA has been criticized for years for poor security, the only innocents in this are the veterans and their families.
The Washington Post had this quote:
""VA has not been able to effectively address its significant
information security vulnerabilities and reverse the impact of its
historically decentralized management approach," acting Inspector
General Jon A. Wooditch wrote in a November 2005 report."