By Maureen Groppe
Star Washington Bureau
June 30, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs is missing a backup
tape with more than 16,000 legal case records from an Indianapolis
office serving veterans in Indiana and Kentucky.
That disclosure came the same day Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim
Nicholson announced the recovery of a stolen laptop computer and hard
drive containing personal information on as many as 26.5 million
The missing tape from the Regional General Counsel's Office in
Indianapolis doesn't contain as much data as was on the stolen laptop,
said U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., who heads the House Veterans'
Affairs Committee. But the information is of greater sensitivity, he
said, because "much is privileged and confidential."
The Indianapolis tape contains personally identifiable information on
veterans, their dependents or department employees, such as dates of
birth, Social Security numbers, patient records and other
documentation related to legal cases handled by the Regional General
The office, in the Federal Building in Indianapolis, handles VA cases
involving such issues as collections on bankruptcies, hospital debt,
tort claims, workers' compensation and other employee complaints. The
cases also may involve neighboring states.
Whether the tape was misplaced or stolen, or something else happened,
Buyer said, "is completely open to the realm of imagination and
Nicholson said veterans potentially affected are being notified and
will have access to the same free credit-protection monitoring system
that has been offered to those whose information was on the stolen
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