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Press Release

July 14, 2006

No. 06-27

Mokie Porter

VA Inspector General’s Report on Identify Theft
And the Secretary’s Plan Don’t Go Far Enough

(Tucson, Arizona ) – “What is astonishing about the VA Inspector General’s report issued this week on the appallingly loose cyber-security of veterans’ personal information held by the VA is that there is no mention of many of the key questions raised by Vietnam Veterans of America,” said John Rowan, National President of VVA.  “For what purposes has the VA collected the volume of personal data on veterans and active-duty troops?  Is this information held by other agencies of government?  Has it been shared with private entities?  

“While there are no new startling conclusions in the report,” Rowan said, “what is distressing to us are the facts, well-documented in this report, that IT vulnerabilities have been ignored for far too long by top officials at the VA, and that remediation efforts have been spotty and ineffective.

“The initial failures to comprehend the potential extent of the data loss in the wake of the theft of a laptop and external hard drive from the home of a long-time VA employee, and the ensuing attempts at damage control at a series of congressional hearings, have illuminated an issue that warrants immediate attention, particularly in regard to accountability measures,” Rowan, in Tucson to attend VVA’s National Leadership Conference, said.   

“Secretary Nicholson is to be commended for his determination to ‘plug the holes’ that have been neglected for too many years,” Rowan said. “We fear that the actions taken by and planned by the Secretary don’t go far enough.  To insure that veterans’ personal data really are secure, an independent oversight entity must be created, under the jurisdiction of the courts, to monitor compliance with new and revised policies and procedures. 

“Veterans – and all Americans – must be assured that their personal information held by agencies of government is secure against inappropriate use or illegal access by agencies within government as well as outside entities,” Rowan said.  “Veterans, active-duty service members, and all citizens deserve no less.”


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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