14 June 2006

We Get Letters!

Yesterday the ADM. and I both got our letters from the VA informing us that yes, as we may have guessed, our information could have been compromised. Sadly, this letter made me, in turns, angry and amused. So much so that I was going to scan it and fisk it for any who were interested. However, it turns out that a copy of it is available online, along with the only marginally helpful FAQ.

Now, for everyone’s clarification, here is a timeline based on VA press releases and media reporting, of what exactly happened:

Click on the Pic for a larger view.

Keep this in mind as I relate the parts of the letter that really got to me.

First:
Out of an abundance of caution, however, VA is taking all possible steps to protect and inform our veterans.

All possible steps to inform us, eh? Then how come you, Mr. Secretary, waited until the week after you were informed of this to make an announcement? 10 days after the VA Inspector General had launched an investigation? Almost 3 weeks after the theft? All possible steps my bleeding arse. The leisurely pace of informing the chain of command at each level in the VA bespeaks an utter disregard for the seriousness of the incident.

Second:
We at the VA believe it is important for you to be fully informed of any potential risk resulting from this incident.

Well, maybe not fully informed, at least not in a timely manner, as it took over two weeks AFTER the belated public announcement for the full scope of the data loss to come to light. Just trust the VA, they will tell you if they think you have to know. Really.

Third:
We have no evidence that your protected data has been misused.

Of course, there is one possible case of identity theft, but we are dragging our feet on that and trying to keep it out of the public view. So shush.

And lastly, regarding using the IRS to forward the letters:
The IRS has not disclosed your address or any other tax information to us.

Because they figured you would just lose that info, too.

If you would like some GOOD information on precautionary steps to take, head over to John Donovan’s place at the Castle Argghhh!!! to read his much more helpful thoughts.

4 Comments:

At 6/14/2006, Blogger Vigilis said...

PBS, read the link at Castle Argghhh. My first question has always been, and he suspects it, too, is this intentional sabotage to embarrass the current administration?

In fact, the day after the news on the theft broke, I had sent my high-profile, U.S. Senator an inquiry with one question: was the information analyst who took the files to his/her home a veteran, and if not, why the heck not. Of course, there has been no response yet.

The analyst indeed may have been hired during the Clinton administration, may not be a veteran, and may have been induced by left-wing activists to allow the file to be misapropriated. You heard it here, on your own blog, first.

 
At 6/14/2006, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Vig-

One of the media reports stated that the offender was a 30 employee of the VA, so he was not a Clinton hire. Assuming that the 30-year number might have some slack, that makes him potentially a Nixon/Ford/Carter hire - however, it also means he went through at least two other Repub. administrations without being devious, so I have my doubts about the political motivations of the incident...

 
At 6/14/2006, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

30 *year* employee. Shoulda hit preview first...

 
At 6/14/2006, Blogger Vigilis said...

PBS, you told me more than my U.S. Senator has, yet. Forget his tenure, I do not believe a veteran would be as careless with his comrades' personal data as this one! Thirty years, you say? Obviously should have been retired long ago.

Since he was nor retired, I assume he is wheel-chair bound, as well?
Sorry, I knew better than this from my own auditor training. The guy obviously did not respect or know standards more than 20 years old.

- One very pissed letter recipient.

 

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