Stolen VA Laptop Turned in to FBI
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2006 The stolen Department of Veterans Affairs laptop computer and hard drive containing the personal information of more than 26 million veterans were turned in to the FBI yesterday, the Veterans Affairs secretary said before Congress today.
Reports indicate that the FBI has made a preliminary determination that data contained on the computer and hard drive has not been accessed.
There have been no reports of identity theft or other criminal activity related to the stolen computer, R. James Nicholson told the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He added that the VA would still honor its promise of free credit monitoring for a year.
An unnamed individual turned over the laptop and hard drive to FBI officials in Baltimore. No persons are in custody at this time, officials said.
The laptop and hard drive were stolen from the Montgomery County, Md., home of a VA employee on May 3. Government officials do not believe the data on the laptop was the target of the burglary, and consider the break-in a random theft.
"This has brought to the light of day some real deficiencies in the manner we handled personal data," Nicholson said. "If there's a redeeming part of this, I think we can turn this around."