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I Think Vets Could Sue






A. The "No Disclosure Without Consent" Rule

"No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains [subject to 12 exceptions]." 5 U.S.C. § 552a(:mellow:.

In my opinion- the VA has "disclosed" private records of veterans by virtue of this employee who took the records home, "to any person" ,"agency" -ie: a bunch of thieves.

The VA is ultimately responsible for this.

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I believe you are correct and I was thinking the same thing when the story first came out the other day. We need to ask a lawyer and file a lawsuit together.

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Does anyone know whose information was part of the theft? They say 26+ million, then the next report says only veterans discharged after 1975. And yet another report from another forum said it was only veterans discharged before 1977.

Here's another reason to be baffled. I'm posting a press release from a government site about a different matter, and you can see they refer to "All 24 million living veterans..." Does that mean spouses make up the other 2+ million?

I agree, I think veterans can sue for this violation of the federal privacy act. I am angry! I have just spent THREE YEARS trying to get something off my credit report that was due to wrongfully disclosed private information. The manager at a new bank said we could "own" Bank of America for their violation of our privacy when they disclosed our name, address, and SSN to an outsider. This outsider was merged with our account in error and he later filed bankruptcy. Computerized credit scoring doesn't care how errors get there, it still rates the negative and that can cost a lot when interest rates are determined by the credit score.

VA officials are trying to paint this a "breach of security" matter, but for each veteran and spouse involved, it is a violation of privacy and that is a totally different matter. You may have noticed that Homeland Security is now involved.

Another thing that irks me is how quicky the credit bureaus jumped on selling the programs for watching our credit files. Wasn't it just so nice that they changed their Web site to blast the message of a 50% discount! Don't you know they WISH all 26 million veterans take them up on the offer! I think adding the fraud alert will work just as well.


The Craig - Graham legislation seeks to balance the scales of justice for veterans by allowing them to hire a lawyer -- if they so choose

May 4, 2006

Media contact for Sen. Craig: Jeff Schrade (202) 224-9093

Media contact for Sen. Graham: Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972

(Washington, DC) A bill which would allow veterans to hire lawyers to represent them in their efforts to obtain federal benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been introduced by U.S. Senators Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

The legislation (S. 2694 - the Veterans’ Choice of Representation Act of 2006), if enacted, would repeal restrictions flowing from a policy born nearly 150 years ago when attending law school was not required to become a lawyer and many practicing law were considered ill trained and unscrupulous.

"I suppose that some would still warn that lawyers are not to be trusted, but the reality is that the laws are complex and I want veterans to have the option of hiring an attorney to help navigate the system, if they choose," said Sen. Craig, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. "A recent editorial put it this way, ‘If American soldiers are mature and responsible enough to choose to risk their lives for their country, shouldn’t they be considered competent to hire a lawyer?’ I believe the obvious answer to that question is ‘yes,’ Simply put, the current paternalistic restriction is outdated."

Under current law, all 24 million living veterans are prohibited from hiring a lawyer to help them navigate the Veterans Affairs system. It is only after a veteran has spent months and even years exhausting the extensive VA administrative process that the veteran then may retain counsel – a process that often takes 3 or more years to complete.

"This overdue change will significantly improve veterans’ access to the VA and expedite just outcomes," said Sen. Graham, who also serves on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. "In today’s complicated world, legal assistance in navigating the system is more timely than ever. I thank Chairman Craig for his leadership in this effort."

Under the current appeals system, about 85 percent of veterans choose to be represented by Veterans’ Service Organizations or state veterans agency personnel.

"I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that attorneys should be considered necessary in order to obtain VA benefits," Chairman Craig said.

"We must ensure that the system continues to serve veterans in a friendly, non-adversarial manner – regardless of the presence of an attorney or any other representative. I also want to be clear that, although I believe veterans should have the option to hire attorneys, they should not be discouraged in any way from utilizing the valuable free services now provided by many dedicated representatives of veterans’ service organizations."


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AtEase- Welcome aboard-

The math didnt add up to me either-

One of the pages at the VA web site says there are 24,5 million vets-now there are 2 million more?

It could be the widows.

I think this involves ALL vets and all widows of vets-to include Pres. Bush, Sec. Nicholson, Senator Dole, Ollie North- etc-etc

I agree with everything you said- I too noticed how companies got right on the bandwagon to help a vet secure their credit-

A Hawaii newspaper said there had been one break in the same week in this area where the VA employee lived, but nothing was taken. A neighbor was quoted saying the guy said the discs were well hidden-

it all seems real funny to me-

VA should pay for any cost a vet incurs protecting their credit-

I also believe that a veteran who is denied a claim because their probative evidence is not addressed-

should -in their NOD-ask the VA in the NOD if an employee took their evidence home and it was stolen.

And if their evidence is not addressed by the VARO by -(give them a dated deadline) they want their missing evidence to be reported to the FBI.

Sounds nuts I know- but it makes me sick to think of all the incompetence we have dealt with as VA claimants and this fiasco is probably one of many we and the public have never found out about.

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The VA has already taken steps to protect me from credit fraud.

By illegally denying my claim for years while we lost most of our possesions (sold for food and heat) we were forced to file bancruptcy.

I don't have any credit to take advantage of any more. A criminal act involving my credit would not be very profitable. Maybe cause an inconvenience.

Any way, just thought I'd lighten things up a bit with some humor.


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I listened to the segment they had on C-Span this morning at 9:00 EST. Sounds to me like the veterans are basically on their own. Also, the guy who took the files seems to have committed a breach of a VA regulation, he didn't necessarily break the law. HA HA If you or I would have done something like this, we would be under the jail. They quote him as being a long time employee, very upstanding, very smart and someone who would never do something that was wrong. Yeah, we believe that. How many high ranking officials within the government lately have been involved in law breaking activities who most people would have stated the same facts about them.


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