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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