National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

Summary: "The nation's record keeper" - the National Archives and Record Administration - has lost a two-terabyte hard drive containing digital records from Bill Clinton's presidency. In a statement, NARA said that it "takes very seriously the loss of an external hard drive that contained copies of electronic storage tapes from the Executive Office of the President of the Clinton Administration.

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TOPICS: Government, Privacy
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"The nation's record keeper" - the National Archives and Record Administration - has lost a two-terabyte hard drive containing digital records from Bill Clinton's presidency.

In a statement, NARA said that it "takes very seriously the loss of an external hard drive that contained copies of electronic storage tapes from the Executive Office of the President of the Clinton Administration." The agency said that it has reviewed its internal information controls and improved its security processes. (InfoWeek)

It's not just Clinton's privacy that's affected. It contains names and SSNs of an untold number of visitors. It contains snapshots of the hard drives of departing administration officials, information that had been stored on 113 4mm tape cartridges.

Proof positive, it's fair to say, that NARA's security procedures are "fatally flawed," as a panel of records management folks told a House hearing today, reports NextGov.

"NARA's use of technology appears to be focused on making NARA a museum, rather than a lead agency on life-cycle management of records for public access and government accountability," said Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org, a group advocating more transparency in government. "The issue of records management of e-mail is the iceberg below this tip. NARA's policy in this area is fatally flawed."

Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for The George Washington University's National Security Archives, said:

[NARA has] been passive [in] trying to update records management practices at most federal agencies. The result is that not much changes in federal records management until there is a scandal, such as the public exposure of the loss of millions of federal record e-mails at the White House.

All of which makes proposals for agencies to embrace social networking seem far distant. "That's a whole new level of complexity that I don't think we even had in the Bush administration," she said.

Topics: Government, Privacy

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19 comments
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  • At first i thought it was a loss of 2 TB of data, but...

    then I realized it was just a copy possibly getting into the wrong hands.
    Well, pretty serious either way, assuming the drive contents were personal/sensitive/classified.
    Digital data protection will continue to be a huge issue.
    Economister
    • 2 terabyte drive but how much data?

      Probably a lot of data. Since that sounds like it was tapes copied to the drive, and not just Clinton's stuff, that could mean the drive was pretty full. OTOH maybe it was an formatted drive; I don't think gvt critters would have way of knowing.
      OTOH, if the files were data files, a lot more th an Clinton's records would fit in 2 TB. Who knows what was really on that drive? Of if it had even ever been put into service.
      twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
      • Aproximately 1 TB of Data on the drive.

        And you are right much more than Clinton's Records were on the drive according to Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.): The drive also contained details on the security procedures used by the Secret Service at the White House, as well as event logs, social gathering logs, political records and other information from the Clinton administration.
        Timewellwasted
    • I'd think something like this would be encrypted pretty heavily though..

      [b] [/b]
      AzuMao
  • Misplaced?

    Any check Sandy Berger's pants? He's always good for misplacing Clinton era data.
    Fark
    • Dang. You beat me to it. (nt)

      ..
      Letophoro
  • RE: National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

    The list of people who could have touched this should
    be short: 2TB drives have only been around for a very
    short time! Is every single person at the National
    Archives able to handle their latest technology
    purchases? And where are the originals? Who cares if
    the data is made public! Were the originals deleted?
    There were NO 2TB drives 8 years ago!!
    dan.nutley
  • I didn't know they had 2 TB...

    hard drives in Clinton's era.
    bjbrock
    • They did at the very end

      But the drive is a copy of a bunch of mag tapes...it might have just been bought last week for all we know.
      p38fln
      • Excellent Point

        I was going to say the same thing, we have no idea from reading the article how old the drive was, just that it is missing. I think it is time to revamp the protocol for handling any data in government, for the most part it seems like right down to the guy backing up data, people are treating briefcases, hard drives, and laptops full of sensitive material with negligent regard for National Security as well as identity theft. The computer age seems to have brought about an almost nonchalant attitude toward sensitive data.
        Timewellwasted
  • RE: National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

    The 2T dive was/is a transfer of data from the 4MM tapes.
    n3qik
  • RE: National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

    How convenient!
    Omnius
  • RE: National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

    Yet another demonstration of the inability of the government to understand, or manipulate, data securely. If it's partisan, it's flawed. If it's managed by those without knowledge and experience, it will be flawed. Anything the gvt does re data WILL be flawed. Keep right on pulling that one big lever at election time, folks.
    I haven't seen or heard this on any news media other than blogs etc.. Why is that? Because it's not really news, that's why; it's just busines as usual.
    twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
  • RE: Lost 2TB drive - where are the original tapes?

    If the drive was a "transfer" of data from the 4mm tapes - then someone should still have the tapes, right? Could this explain the lack of outcry?

    On a different note - I really hate the impression our country's government sometimes gives to the rest of the world...
    leganssa
    • FOLLOW THE EMBEDDED LINKS

      If you actually follow some of the links that are embedded in the article you will see that none that is (Repeat..) NONE of the ORIGINAL data has been lost.

      The only thing missing is the data that was copied from a set of (13?) 4mm original backup tapes to the missing hard drive.

      Staff had been redirected to another project partway through this task and when they returned to the original project to continue their work the drive was gone.

      Personally, I'm betting someone has appropriated (Nicked..) the thing for use in the PC at home and boy will they be regretting that move..!!

      We had much the same thing here in the UK but it was a CD/DVD with hundreds of thousands of social security numbers and names and addresses on it.. Governments always mess up like this it's just a matter of when.
      True Patriot
  • Secret Service info on the drive which disappeared.

    Reading this same information elsewhere one finds this information was lost during the waning days of the Bush Administration along with some other interesting information apparently left out by Richard Koman: Rep. Darrell Issa -Archives was in the process of converting information from the hard drive that's believed to contain nearly 1TB of data, to a digital records system when it apparently disappeared. It was apparently removed from a secure storage area to a workplace where at least 100 'badge-holders' had access to it. -The drive also contained details on the security procedures used by the Secret Service.-
    Timewellwasted
  • RE: National Archives lost 2TB drive from Clinton years

    Look we all know that the Terabyte drive was the one used that hold the video from Bill's Sex sessions inside the oval office and I am sure he paid plenty to the archive to ACCIDENTALLY lose that incriminating footage.Either that or Monica Lewinski broke in and stole it and is now stuffing her face with ice cream and watching them like they are friends re-runs remanissing on the good old days with her and Billy.
    wolframalpha
    • PLEASE use a spelling checker! Or Firefox!

      "remanissing" ???

      It took me several seconds to work out that you meant 'reminiscing'.

      I often reminisce about the days when people knew how to spell correctly!
      rahbm
  • The only suprising thing to me

    Is that this kind of thing is surprising to anyone when it
    happens.
    unclefixer