Some Veterans are Angry About V.A.'s Response to Security Breach - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/24/06 - East Texas

Some Veterans are Angry About V.A.'s Response to Security Breach

by Ramonica R. Jones

"This is serious," said Wayne Youngblood. "This is very serious for a lot of veterans like myself. Not only did I retire in 1975, I retired as a Disabled American Veteran and I've been under the V.A. care since 1975, so I have a lot of records there."

Now, Wayne Youngblood believes those records have been stolen. He wants the person who took them tried in a court of law. His private information may have been included on a laptop and disk stolen from the home of a Veterans Affairs employee earlier this month in Maryland.

The security breach reportedly affects vets from 1975 to now, but William Love, who retired from the military in '72, is still worried.

"It hurts," Love said. "Knowing that our government can't control the paperwork that they got on us, how do they expect to control the country? I may be speaking out of term - I'm not criticizing any one person, because there's more than one person involved in it - but our government should tighten down on our security a lot better than they've done."

The Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to track down the stolen information, but Youngblood and Love are trying to track down someone from the V.A. who can give them answers.

"There's really nothing we can do until somebody notifies us or we get a hold of someone to tell us whether our records were in that stack of records," Youngblood said. "Obviously, they were. Twenty-six million records is a lot of people and I'm sure I'm somewhere in there. I'm in the mix."

The stolen computer disk contains the names, social security numbers, and birth dates of every living veteran discharged since 1975. The V.A. is now in the process of notifying veterans and providing help on consumer identity protection.

If you're a veteran and suspect you're the victim of identity theft, call 1-800-FED-INFO or go to the U.S. government's official website at www.firstgov.gov.

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