Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Inside Job

When I first heard this story last night, the first thing that occurred to me was that the story was mistold.

The AP says this:
Personal data, including Social Security numbers, of 26.5 million US veterans, were stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee this month after he took the information home without authorization, the department said yesterday.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said there is no evidence the burglars who struck the employee's home have used the personal data -- or even know they have it. The employee, a data analyst whom Nicholson would not identify, has been placed on leave pending a review.

Computer disks might be interesting to burglers. Anything that might be of value would prompt an interest from thieves looking to make a score. But depending on what else was stolen, if anything, from this Data analyst's home, the investigation needs to focus on the analyst.

Common sense dictates that if a person violates one law, other laws will be less likely to be obeyed. So if the analyst is willing to violate the privacy of veterans, why not sell the information. Regardless, we have a presumption of innocence in the USA. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs would be perfectly within bounds to dismiss this employee for taking the information home without authorization.

We'll keep digging and try to find the real story. It just smells like an inside job.

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