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Guest DON20906

5/25/2006

$50,000 Reward Offered for Return Of Electronic Data Containing Veterans’ Information

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have announced a $50,000 reward through the Montgomery County Crime Solvers organization, for information that leads to the recovery of a laptop computer and external hard drive that contained personal information for millions of veterans.

Montgomery County Police are working with the FBI and the VA OIG in the investigation of a residential burglary that occurred on May 3, 2006, in the Aspen Hill community of Montgomery County. Taken during that burglary was a laptop computer and external hard drive which contained identifying information for approximately 26.5 million veterans.

At this stage of the investigation there is no evidence that the suspect or suspects responsible for the theft had any knowledge of what information was stored on the hard drive.

The primary objective of the investigation is the recovery of the laptop and external hard drive. Anyone who can provide information that leads to the recovery of the laptop and external hard drive that contains the veterans’ data should call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). A cash reward of $50,000 will be paid for information provided to the Crime Solvers tip line that leads to the recovery of these items.

LHB/EMB

# # #

Contact: Media Services Division 240-773-5030

» Return to Press Releases

Last edited: 5/15/2006

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  • HadIt.com Elder

The information is worth about 250 million dollars to crooks.

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Guest DON20906

Quite a scenario. You know in prison, your comp would be reduced to 10%. n :mellow:

Dear Fellow Veterans & Friends

If I had the disks. I would burry them in the woods and tell the news media I had them and the VA would not get them back until I could present my VA claim on national TV and let the people decide if I should get back pay for 16 years of VA incompetence.

Terry Higgins

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Did they reduce Duke Cunnighams pension?

Quite a scenario. You know in prison, your comp would be reduced to 10%. n :mellow:
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  • HadIt.com Elder

By: MARK WALKER - Staff Writer

A Nebraska congressman outraged at disgraced former 50th Congressional District Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham introduced legislation Wednesday that would bar federal employees convicted of major crimes from receiving government pensions.

But the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Lee Terry, would not affect the estimated $40,000 congressional pension that the House Office of Personnel estimates Cunningham is entitled to receive, despite having pleaded guilty on Nov. 28 to bribery and tax evasion.

Cunningham is still entitled to his pension because constitutional law prohibits retroactive application of such a law. The only reasons government employees can now be stripped of federal pensions are for convictions of espionage or treason.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

The guys in Congress like to beat their chests and blame all the regular civil servants for everything. In fact, it is the policies of the Congress and Prez that produce unrealistic budgets and do not provide the tax money to pay for them. The biggest thieves are not in prison but in Congress.

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I hav been re-thinking this VA data theft stuff-

Don made some good points last week that I wasn't willing to consider then but I do now-

This VA employee was probably sincere in his desire to take this work home for a valid reason.

As a 30 years fed employee he had too much to lose otherwise-he might even be a disabled vet.

and- dont remember if I heard it here or from a local vet- a RO employee told a vet he had worked on the guy's claim at his home.

Maybe this has been an internal practice for years-tro take sensitive stuff home-regardless of VA policy-

I also read that there was a $50,000 reward for info on this theft-

If Nicholson never gets those letters mailed to vets -at the terrible cost he estimated and the VA offered instead $1,000,000 or more for the return of the stolen items-maybe that stuff can be recovered.

There is a good chance that -since these discs were separate from the PC,in the employee's home,

could they be in some dumpster somewhere?

One of the Hawaii newspapers said he told a neighbor that he had placed the discs somewhere that no one would think of looking-

maybe this employee is so rattled by all this that he himself paniced when he found the PC was missing and the discs are actually still somewhere in his home?

Then again some reports say the info was on the PC hard-drive already anyhow.

I wonder how security is at the NARA. I happened to access what the VA will attempt to do regarding a buddy statement-posted this before but it is interesting now-as they refer to the Privacy Act:

"Veteran's Affairs says:

As a Federal agency, according to the Privacy Act, we are obliged to protect the privacy of veterans' personal information. Therefore, VA cannot release personal information about a veteran in our records system without that person's permission. We can, however, forward a message from you to the veteran, providing the veteran has filed a claim with VA and we have an address on record.

Please write your message and place it in an unsealed, stamped envelope. Also include a note to VA explaining who it is you are trying to reach and add as much identifying information as you have. Place all of this in another envelope addressed to the nearest U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office (you can find the address at Facilities Director or in the "blue" pages of your telephone book). "

I know that they do follow through on these requests and these can sometimes result in finding a buddy for a buddy statement to support a claim.

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Berta,

I doubt very seriously this employee WORKED anyone's claims. This employee worked in the Policy, Plans, and Programs area (To Federal Workers it is known as the 3 P's or most notably Pots and Pans). Their jobs are not functionals in the rating or development of claims. They do things like create computer programs to manage statistics and track data. Apparently this employee was allowed to download the demographics of the veterans from the mainframe server and he had to have authorization and password to do so. I worked many years and retired from the Dept of the Army as a civilian and served as an Integrated Logistics Support Manager and also Materiel Manager of which I was a functional in the development, acquisition, and fielding of military weapon systems and equipment. Withing DA there are MSCs which are called Major Subordinate Commands under the Army Material Command (AMC). Each had a Policy, Plans, and Programs area which managed and stored information and or created new computer programs, but their main business is gathering statistical data from the functionals inputs and being able to track what is good and what is bad. Then they went further with establishing metrics and all sorts of reporting procedures that overwhelms the actual functionals in trying to perform their main job which is to support the military in the field and provide them with the latest and best equipment in a timely manner. That unfortunately has taken a back seat and the bean counters are the folks with all the demands. I got fed up with the overwhelming amount of furnishing reports over taking care of the soldiers in the field that need the equipment.

Many hours are spent just report back to the Policy, Plans, and Programs divisions when those folks can access the computers and come up with the data themselves and leave the functional folks alone, it is the same database.

I see no reason and information systems management type would ever be allowed to take the work home. Unless!!!!! And I say unless he is actually creating some type of new program to monitor something else faster and then it is something they are creating, not taking archived personal demographics with them. They can creat programs without the actual veterans names and demographics in them and test it first by simply putting the name of Chicken or Dog or Cow etc.

This is a criminal offense and a direct breach and violation of security regulations and nothing more. Had I taken a "Secret" document home with me while working for the Federal Government I would have been put in jail and my security clearance revoked.

Semper Fi,

RockyA

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  • HadIt.com Elder

RockyA1911,

You should go on courttv and be an analyst commentator on this matter. That was pretty good commentary. I can hear Nancy Gracy right now saying "I smell a rat". Really, why would the guy have any need to take the entire data base home unless he either had an offer on the information or was saving it in case he was fired or otherwise needed money to retire on in the French Riveria. Maybe hanging around prosecutors and investigators has tainted me. I always suspect criminal intent.

He got the stuff home and maybe it really was stolen. Now to save his ass he reports it and says he was working on a report or some veterans claim. He is at least in my mind at this time a guilty bystander. It would not make sense for him to sell it, then bring the heat on himself by reporting it stolen. However, some people feel like superman and impervious to criminal investigation and do wierd things. Especially when they are not familiar with law enforcement. Also, how hard can it be to copy this stuff from disc to disc. They have not released info on this size of the data base. How many copies did he make. The guy could easily have transfered data from one hard drive to another if the file was really large.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Remember the Chinese scientist who took home work from Las Alamos to do stuff with data. They threw him in jail and said he was a spy. He was a federal employee as well. Now, of course, he is suing the government and will be getting a large settlement.

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That's just it Hoppy, transferring data from one hard drive to another should be impossible. Number one that type of data (as is certain other government data) is normally only available as "READ ONLY" and accessable only via the VAs mainframe server. And number two a lot of the data that is marked as read only cannot be copied, downloaded, or edited in any form and can only be updated by the functionals or system info types submitting the requested changes and even then they must be on the ACCESS list to read the "read only information". AND there are normally a few that are actually allowed to input the changes and it cannot be done from home. The changes are submitted by functionals via another program and when the folks with the access to edit get it on their computer and they must input a re-entry action code before the change can even be input.

As far as the employee working on the program and database etc is BULL also. I still believe the government still uses the same programming language now as it did when I retired and that program language is COBAL.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven and if this employee was made aware that he/she will be charged with a security violation that could warrant 20 years I would think the perp would be willing to come clean to save theirselves. That's what the FBI should be working on, putting the pressure on that employee. If it was a scheme they would confess.

And just downloading the READ ONLY data on a personal laptop even if it wasn't stolen later is a criminal offense and a bigtime security violation EVEN if the laptop never left the government facility.

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Rocky,

I don't think the guy took the data home to edit it, only to use it as data to run against a program he was working on. "Read only" just means that. You can look at it, but you cannot modify it. Doesn't mean that you cannot download it, especially if you work in IT. Apparently he had the security clearance to download this, with or without approval. After all, it happened. I am like you. I personally don't think that this type of data should have been in any way available to anyone to download for any reason. But again, having such small, keychain size drives now makes it so much easier to transport data without ever being noticed.

On another website forum, a retired VARO veteran stated that he used to take home work all the time to work on and was probably as sensitive or more sensitive than what this guy took home. It was the norm to work from home a lot and you had to have the information to do it. He more or less indicated that people would probably be shocked to see what information he had access to and worked on from home.

There is a serious problem happening in our country now. With more and more companies letting go employees and expecting those left to pick up the slack, the work has to get done somehow. This means that in order for the employee to at least see his family once in a while, he takes the work home and does a lot of it from there. Who knows how many employees have access to your very personal information at home from various businesses and companies that we are not even aware of. This VARO employee just got caught after 3 years of doing it. If he has been doing it, how many others may have had the same data or more data sitting at their home. This is what is frightening. We don't know and will probably never know.

I am by no means taking up for the employee or anyone else because, I too, am mad as h## that this was allowed to happen. I am just saying that this is one big disaster that after 3 years finally came to light and as a result has caused a lot of headaches for veterans. This may be a wakeup call to us that this VA employee and the VARO may not be the only ones having access to our very personal information sitting around their home waiting for it to be stolen or sold. If something is not done to prevent this, we all could be in for big trouble. Everytime you go to the doctors office or the hospital or have tests run, the first thing they do is stick a privacy act pamphlet in your hand. Why, if this is allowed to happen and who knows what else?

Just giving my point of view and also to vent a little frustration because I am unsure at this point what path my husband and I are going to take to protect ourselves in the event this information does get in the wrong hands. There is no easy fix to this to protect yourself.

mssoup1

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Did they reduce Duke Cunnighams pension?

============

(CNN) -- Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (the eight-term California Republican) said Monday he is resigning from Congress after pleading guilty to taking more than $2 million in bribes in a criminal conspiracy involving at least three defense contractors.

=====================

WASHINGTON — FBI agents searched the congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson (Democrat of Louisiana) Saturday evening in connection with a public corruption investigation. Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), the target of a 14-month corruption bribery probe, was videotaped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from a Northern Virginia investor who was wearing an FBI wire, according to a search warrant affidavit released yesterday.

=================================

I agree they should throw ALL the crooks out, period. But should there be a distinction in who the FBI raids their Congressional Office. The only difference I see in these 2 crooks is that the Republican was accused of taking 2 million...his Office wasn't raided. The Democrat was accused of taking $100,000 and his Office was raided. It had to be the amount of money involved....no wait....the Republican was accused of taking 20 times as much as the Democrat.....hmmmmm, well, maybe another one of those classified top secret investigations????????

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[size=2]It don't matter how high the security clearance is, there’s a law that says "nothing leaves the building that did not come in". ID theft is one thing, but the worse of it is, a criminal looking for a new name, and SS #...

If this yea hoo goes out and commits a crime, it is up to you to prove that it wasn't you, when you get arrested for it.

Also we have how many illegal’s in this country, looking for a false SS#? We can thank Bush for that, and what a perfect time that this should happened, (Just a Thought). No matter how one tries to shift to the liter side of this outright criminal act, there will always be the one factor, of WHY DID THEY WAIT TO REPORT THIS MATTER TO THE FBI? I can tell you that the average cost of a false SS# on the street is about $300.00

To a Mexican, this is what he will pay for it and a false ID.

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By: MARK WALKER - Staff Writer

A Nebraska congressman outraged at disgraced former 50th Congressional District Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham introduced legislation Wednesday that would bar federal employees convicted of major crimes from receiving government pensions.

But the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Lee Terry, would not affect the estimated $40,000 congressional pension that the House Office of Personnel estimates Cunningham is entitled to receive, despite having pleaded guilty on Nov. 28 to bribery and tax evasion.

Cunningham is still entitled to his pension because constitutional law prohibits retroactive application of such a law. The only reasons government employees can now be stripped of federal pensions are for convictions of espionage or treason.

What a racket being in congress ,they make out like fat rats in and out of office, and they have the gall to try and mess with the average joe who elected them, how ironic.
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I don't think for a minute that our personal info was ever secure in the first place.

This is just another smoke screen.

Something else to take our attention away from the other ongoing VA fraud.

sledge

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Dear Fellow Veterans & Friends

If I had the disks. I would burry them in the woods and tell the news media I had them and the VA would not get them back until I could present my VA claim on national TV and let the people decide if I should get back pay for 16 years of VA incompetence.

Terry Higgins

Terry,

Whats stopping you? Hell, call the media and admit you have the documents. Get your claim settled and when they ask you for the data tell em you lied and you learned how to lie from the VA.

Kirk

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