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VA loses more veterans' data

November 03, 2006|From Newsday

NEW YORK — The Department of Veterans Administration confirmed Thursday that a computer containing the personal data of military veterans was stolen from the agency's Manhattan hospital.

VA spokeswoman Jo Schuda said the laptop computer, used to measure pulmonary function, was stolen from a locked room in a locked hallway at the VA hospital. The theft occurred Sept. 6, but VA officials sent out a letter to veterans only within the past two weeks. The personal data of about 1,600 people was on the computer's hard drive.

It was the third theft of personal data from a VA facility in less than a year.

In May, VA officials said a laptop computer containing the personal information of about 26.5 million veterans and active duty members of the military was stolen from the home of a VA employee. And a laptop was stolen from a VA subcontractor's Reston, Va., office.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) criticized the institution Thursday. "The least that we can do for our veterans is to make sure their private information is kept safe," she said.

Lisette M. Mondello, the VA's assistant secretary for public affairs, declined to respond to the criticism. "The VA takes any possible compromise of veteran information seriously," she said.

Schuda said the VA would offer a free credit-monitoring service to anyone whose name was on the stolen computer.

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