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[ISN] TSA hard drive with employee data missing
By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
May 5, 2007
The FBI is investigating a data-security breach at the Transportation
Security Administration involving the bank records and other personal
data of 100,000 employees, including airport screeners and federal air
"This is considered serious," a Homeland Security official said on the
condition of anonymity. "We've turned this place upside-down today to
find the missing laptop."
However, the agency released a statement referring to the missing item
as an external hard drive, and said officials on Thursday became aware
it was missing from a controlled security area at the headquarters of
its Office of Human Capital.
The files on the hard drive include the archived records of employees
and their Social Security numbers, dates of birth, financial allotments
and payroll information.
The TSA, which is responsible for securing U.S. airports and airline
flights against terrorist hijackings, said last night it "immediately
reported the incident to senior Department of Homeland Security and
law-enforcement officials and launched an investigation."
"TSA is treating this incident as a criminal matter and has asked the
FBI to investigate," it said. "The U.S. Secret Service is also assisting
in the forensic review of equipment and facilities. TSA is cooperating
Yesterday, the agency began notifying all affected employees with
instructions on how to protect against identity fraud. A letter from TSA
Administrator Kip Hawley said the agency will pay for a credit
monitoring service for one year, which includes all three national
credit bureau reports, fraud alerts, detection of fraudulent activity
and identify theft, and fraud resolution and assistance.
"TSA has no evidence that an unauthorized individual is using your
personal information, but we bring this incident to your attention so
that you can be alert to signs of any possible misuse of your identity,"
Mr. Hawley states in the letter. "We are notifying you out of an
abundance of caution at this early stage of the investigation given the
significance of the information contained on the device. We apologize
that your information may be subject to unauthorized access, and I
deeply regret this incident."
The agency said it will take "swift disciplinary action, including
dismissal, against individuals found to be in violation of our
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