Law enforcement officials have recovered the laptop stolen from a VA employee's home, which contained personal information on 26.5 million vets, the Washington Post reports. he information appears intact.
"A preliminary review of the equipment by computer forensic teams has determined that the data base remains intact and has not been accessed since it was stolen," said an FBI statement issued today. "A thorough forensic examination is underway, and the results will be shared as soon as possible. The investigation is ongoing."
On the Hill lawmakers welcomed the news with relief. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho): "The news that the stolen data has been recovered is wonderful for veterans and active duty personnel. We're all holding our breath now for the FBI forensic analysis which we hope will confirm that the data has not been compromised." Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.): "Today's announcement does not relieve the Department of Veterans Affairs from fixing its broken data security system and failed leadership," Evans said. "Nor should it delay Congress from moving forward to pass legislation to protect the private information of veterans and all Americans."
Defense officials have called the data loss unprecedented and have said it raised concerns not just about identity theft, but about the safety of U.S. military forces. For example, security experts said, the information could be used to find out where military personnel live if anyone wanted to target them.
The Veterans Affairs Department said last week that it would offer free credit monitoring for a year to the millions of veterans and military personnel whose personal information was stolen last month. The department said the plan will safeguard the credit records of those affected and provide them with peace of mind.