August 7, 2006

Agency says another PC with veterans’ data missing

By Philipp Gollner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs said on Monday that a desktop computer with personal
data on as many as 38,000 U.S. military veterans had
disappeared from Unisys Corp., a subcontractor.

Disclosure of the breach comes three days after authorities
arrested two teenagers in the theft of a laptop and hard drive
containing sensitive data on as many as 26.5 million veterans
and military personnel.

The equipment in that case, turned in to authorities on
June 28, was stolen May 3 during a burglary of a VA employee's
home, authorities said.

In the latest case, Unisys told the VA on August 3 that the
computer was missing from the company's offices in Reston,
Virginia, the VA said. The VA and Unisys said the data may
include names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of

The data do not contain personal financial information,
Unisys said in a statement, but the VA said it may include
patients' insurance carriers and billing information, dates of
military service and claims information that may include some
medical information.

The VA's inspector general, the U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation and local law enforcement agencies "are
conducting a thorough investigation of this matter," Secretary
of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson said in a statement.

The agency said it believes the records concern about 5,000
patients treated at the VA medical center in Philadelphia and
about 11,000 seen at a VA facility in Pittsburgh over the past
four years, as well as about 2,000 deceased veterans.

The agency said it is also investigating whether the
computer contained information on about another 20,000 people
who were treated at the Pittsburgh medical center.

Unisys said it had launched a "comprehensive search and
investigation" and was working with the VA and law enforcement
agencies investigating the incident.