Arrests in VA laptop case please congressman

Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, issued a statement over the weekend, after the Aug. 4 arrest of two Maryland men alleged to have stolen a computer and hard drive from the home of a VA employee in May.

The computer, which contained the personal data of 26.5 million veterans, service personnel and their families, was recovered in June. FBI forensic tests indicated a good probability the data had not been compromised.

“While these arrests are good news, we were lucky that the data belonging to veterans was not accessed and misused,” Buyer said.

“The vulnerability is real and with the help of Congress, [the] VA must move forward with information security reform,” he said.

The committee approved the Veterans Identity and Credit Security Act of 2006 on July 20. The bill would allow remediation of identity theft for veterans or other people whose personal information is compromised by the VA. This includes credit protection and fraud resolution services on the individual’s request.

Buyer said the legislation would give the VA a definite course of action to follow should a data breach occur in the future.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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