False Sense of Security

The VA has recovered a laptop stolen on May 3 that contained a hard drive with sensitve data on 26.5 million veterans and active duty soldiers. VA Secretary Jim Nicholson says there is no evidence that the data was accessed–if I understand the story correctly–because there are no reports of identity theft stemming from the incident.

Now, I venture into tinfoil hat territory again here: Maybe the purpose was not to steal IDs, but to ID people with military experience and weapons training.

To what end?

Well, consider this: After the American Revolution, President George Washington directed the government to offer free land on the western frontier (which was Ohio in those days) to veterans who’d served against the British. With their military experience, Washington reasoned, the vets provided a buffer against the native tribes for the rest of the settlements west of the Alleghenies.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a group within the government but outside the normal chain of command that wants to know where our veterans are located today. And the recovery of the stolen laptop is meant to allay fears about the misuse of their personal data.

I mean, come on: What are the odds of a stolen laptop computer reappearing after 60 days, data intact?

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