Personal Data of 26.5 Million Veterans Stolen
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 22, 2006; 3:30 PM

Every living veteran is at risk of identity theft after thieves stole an electronic data file this month containing the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, VA Secretary R. James Nicholson said today.

The theft of the data, which the employee was not authorized to take home, represents one of the most sweeping government losses of sensitive personal information, experts said. The file did not contain medical records, Nicholson said.

Nicholson said the employee, a career civil servant whom he would not identify by name or title, has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI, local police and the Veterans Affairs inspector general.

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