Stolen laptop in vets data theft case recovered by jolinmilioncherie


									FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2006
                                                                                                  NATIONAL                                                                                                             LAREDO MORNING TIMES | 11A

House OKs                             Stolen laptop in vets’ data theft case recovered
new budget                                        By HOPE YEN               of day some real deficiencies in                                                                                                          Newly discovered documents

 for NASA                                       ASSOCIATED PRESS

                                         WASHINGTON — The govern-
                                                                            the manner we handled personal
                                                                            data,” Nicholson told a House
                                                                            hearing investigating one the na-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  show that the VA analyst blamed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  for losing the laptop had received
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  permission to work from home
         By ANDREW TAYLOR             ment has recovered the stolen         tion’s worst largest information                                                                                                      with data that included millions
          ASSOCIATED PRESS            laptop computer and hard drive        security breaches. “If there’s a re-                                                                                                  of Social Security numbers and
                                      with sensitive data on up to 26.5     deeming part of this, I think we                                                                                                      other personal information on
    WASHINGTON — President            million veterans and military         can turn this around.”                                                                                                                veterans and military personnel.
Bush’s plan to send man to Mars       personnel. The FBI said Thursday          Michelle Crnkovich, a spokes-                                                                                                         Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., chair-
in coming decades received a          there is no evidence that anyone      woman for the Baltimore FBI                                                                                                           man of the House Veterans Affairs
green light Thursday as the           accessed Social Security numbers      field office, said the tipster who                                                                                                    Committee, which was investigat-
House passed a bill funding the       and other data on the equipment.      turned in the laptop in Baltimore                                                                                                     ing the breach, said he was pleased
annual budgets of NASA and the           Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim     has not been charged and likely                                                                                                       that veterans may now be able to
departments of Commerce, Jus-         Nicholson, in announcing the re-      was not the thief. She said the FBI                                                                                                   “breathe a sigh of relief.”
tice and State.                       covery of the computer, said there    still believes the laptop was taken                                                                                                       “However, this will not dimin-
    The bill passed after a mean-     have been no reports of identity      in a routine burglary and that the                                                                                                    ish our oversight,” he said. “We
dering three-day debate that          theft stemming from the May 3         VA data was not the target.                                                                                                           will hold the VA responsible and
touched on everything from            burglary at a VA employee’s               Nicholson urged veterans to                                                                          Photo by Matt Houston | AP   accountable.”
medical marijuana laws to the         Maryland home.                        keep watch over their financial         Chief of the U.S.Park Police Dwight Pettiford answers questions from the media on Thurs-          According to documents ob-
Pacific Northwest’s troubled             The FBI, in a statement from its   records until more tests are com-       day in Beltsville, Md., on the theft and recovery of a Veterans Administration laptop.        tained by The Associated Press, the
salmon fishery. Along the way,        Baltimore field office, said a pre-   pleted in the coming days. The                                                                                                        data analyst faulted for losing the
House lawmakers endorsed the          liminary review of the equipment      VA’s offer of free credit monitor-      ing may not be needed, he said.              this type incident was allowed to                personal data had the department’s
Supreme Court’s ruling to per-        by its computer forensic teams        ing for a year is still in effect un-      Veterans groups cheered the               happen again because of compla-                  approval to access millions of So-
mit evidence seized in violation      “has determined that the data base    til subsequent tests are complet-       news that the laptop was recov-              cency in the work place,” said Joe               cial Security numbers on a laptop
of long-standing “knock and an-       remains intact and has not been       ed, and plans are still on to hire a    ered but said they still needed the          Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans              from home. One document shows
nounce” rules and endorsed            accessed since it was stolen.” More   data analysis company to be on          free one-year credit monitoring              of Foreign Wars. “Those who are en-              the analyst, whose name was being
bilingual ballots for citizens        tests were planned, however.          the watch for potential identity        just to be safe.                             trusted with our nation’s secrets                withheld, had approval as early as
whose native language isn’t              Nicholson said the laptop and      theft, he said.                            “The worst-case scenario may              and the personal information of its              Sept. 5, 2002, to use special soft-
English.                              hard drive were turned in                 “That’s relatively inexpensive,”    have been averted this time, but an          citizens must be held accountable                ware at home that was designed to
    The bill, which covers the an-    Wednesday to the FBI by an            he said of the data analysis work.      even greater tragedy would be if             when they fail to do their jobs.”                manipulate large amounts of data.
nual budgets of the departments       unidentified person in response       If it’s decided after further analy-
of Commerce, State and Justice        to the $50,000 reward offer. No       sis that the FBI “has a high
and the National Aeronautics          suspects were in custody.             enough sense of confidence” in
and Space Administration, is the         “This has brought to the light     its findings, the credit monitor-
10th of 11 annual spending bills
to pass the House in a tight
budget climate that has law-
makers bemoaning cuts across a
wide spectrum of programs.
This comes even as GOP core
voters worry that Congress is
being too fast and loose with
taxpayers’ money.
    The Senate is just getting
started in advancing its versions
of the annual spending bills, the
core job of Congress each year.
On Thursday, the Appropriations
Committee approved a $30.7 bil-
lion measure funding the Energy
Department’s budget as well as
flood control projects cherished
by lawmakers.
    All signs point to a post-elec-
tion lame duck session, however,
as Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist, R-Tenn., has yet to award
floor time for any of the bills.
    On Bush’s plan to eventually
send man to Mars, the House on
Wednesday rejected by a 259-163
vote a move by Rep. Barney
Frank, D-Mass., to stop early
stage preparatory work to send
U.S. astronauts to Mars as the
House debated a $59.8 billion
measure funding .
    Frank contended the Mars ini-
tiative is unaffordable at a time
when agencies, including NASA,
are struggling with a clampdown
on their budgets.

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