Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gossip has its uses

According to an AP story by Hope Yen, the massive loss of personal information from the Veterans Affairs department came to the attention of higher management almost by accident.
The theft of personal data for 26.5 million veterans came to the attention of the Veterans Affairs inspector general only through office gossip, he told Congress Thursday.

In four hours of testimony, IG George Opfer said the department failed to heed years of warnings about lax security and noted that the employee who lost the data when his house was burglarized had been improperly taking the material home for three years.

"We were on borrowed time," Opfer told Senate and House panels investigating the breach.

Earlier, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson said he was "mad as hell" that he wasn't told about the burglary until May 16 — nearly two weeks after it happened. He then told the FBI on May 17, leading to a public announcement May 22.

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