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Press Release

July 11, 2006


No. 06-25

Mokie Porter

VA Can Insure Laptop Security
Despite VVA Lawsuit

(Washington, D.C.) – “Vietnam Veterans of America takes issue with the assertion by the VA General Counsel that his department is handcuffed from putting into place measures to insure security of VA laptops because of lawsuits filed by VVA and other veterans’ organizations,” said John Rowan, National President of VVA. 

“Our attorneys participated in a conference call with U.S. Department of Justice lawyers [who are representing the VA] on June 14 to discuss where potentially relevant electronic evidence might be located,” Rowan said in letters to Jim Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Rep. Steve Buyer, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  “We explicitly told the DOJ that we were not interested in causing any delay in adjudicating veterans’ benefits or providing health care to veterans.  We offered as well the possibility of performing a sampling of VA laptops for potentially relevant evidence and to exempt the majority of these computers from any ‘hold.’ 

“DOJ told our attorneys that they would get back to them in a few days. In fact, they still [had] not gotten back to our attorneys” as of Friday, when the letters were sent to Secretary Nicholson and Chairman Buyer, Rowan said. “To attempt to shift blame to us for ‘preventing’ the VA from doing what it should have been doing all along is unfair and incorrect.” 

Rowan reiterated that “only through the intervention of the courts will we learn just what personal information the VA has collected on veterans – as well as active-duty personnel, Reservists, and members of the National Guard – and what they were doing with this trove of information,” he said.  “For what purpose, and on what legal basis, were these data collected in the first place?  How did the VA gain access to this data?  What other data on veterans have the VA – and other federal agencies – gathered? 

“Veterans will be well served only when the VA can assure them that their personal information is secure.  But the lawsuit should not prevent the VA from beginning to do what they ought to have done years ago,” Rowan concluded.


VVA's point of contact for additional information is Rick Weidman at 301-996-8557. Visit VVA’s Website at http//www.vva.org

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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