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Cabinet Secretary Caught Misleading Congress in Apparent Effort to Conceal the Latest VA Privacy Breach Scandal

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) questioned numerous Obama Administration appointees and helped uncover the shocking revelation that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) computer systems have been hacked repeatedly for at least three years. Indeed, the private medical records of more than 20 million veterans still remain potentially vulnerable to hacking by various nation-state sponsored actors, perhaps the Communist Chinese and Russian mobsters.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Security Jerry Davis testified: "I learned that these attackers were a nation-state sponsored cyber espionage unit and that no less than eight different nation-state sponsored organizations had successfully compromised VA networks and data, or were actively attacking VA networks, attacks that continue at VA to this very day." The testimony of the Office of the Inspector General concluded: "Until VA fully implements key elements of its information security program and addresses our outstanding audit recommendations, VA's mission-critical systems and sensitive veterans' data remain at increased and unnecessary risk of attack or compromise." When the VA allowed the data of 26 million veterans and military personnel to be breached back in 2006, the taxpayers had to pay $20 million to settle a class action lawsuit.

Congressman Huelskamp made the following statement:

"A few weeks ago, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki wrote: "To be clear, VA's [Internet Technology (IT) systems] security posture was never at risk.' But nothing could be further from the truth. The VA's IT systems were at risk and remain at risk. That means bad guys gained access to the computer data systems with the private information of 20 million veterans (as well as their dependents plus VA employees). It includes names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, medical records, employment records, bank account numbers, passwords, and countless emails. To add insult to injury, $87,000 in bonuses was paid to the Acting Assistant Secretary who failed to protect the privacy rights of our nation's veterans! Following the hearing, the House of Representatives passed the "VA bonus ban' amendment I co-authored to prohibit Secretary Shinseki from paying bonuses to VA employees."

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