LEAK OF SENSITIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS -- (House of Representatives - June 13, 2006)
Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. Speaker, the leak of the sensitive personal information of millions of veterans and active duty military personnel by the Department of Veterans Affairs is a disgrace.
The information, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and disability was taken from the VA to an employee's home via his laptop. When the laptop was stolen from his residence, the private, sensitive information of more than 26 million veterans and active duty troops were stolen with it, making them all potential targets for identity theft.
No employee of the Federal Government should have the ability to walk out of their office with that amount of personnel data on their computer. The administration needs to make sure that something like this never happens again.
The VA must also work with Congress to provide assistance to the millions of victims of this leak without affecting veterans' benefits. Veterans should have the resources made available to them free of charge to monitor their credit reports for suspicious action.
If any of our veterans or troops become victims of identity theft because of the security breach, they should not be held responsible. After all, it was by no act of their own that their personal information was compromised.
Last night, I introduced H.R. 5588, a bill that would ensure the veterans are protected in case of their stolen identity.
I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.