The Bush administration’s whack-a-mole on data privacy

In less than a month, the Bush administration has had two gaffes on the security of electronic data. Last month there was the DVA fiasco. This month it’s the Energy Department’s turn. The AP’s H. Josef Hebert reports: Energy Department officials have informed nearly 1,500 individuals that their Social Security numbers and other information may ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

In less than a month, the Bush administration has had two gaffes on the security of electronic data. Last month there was the DVA fiasco. This month it's the Energy Department's turn. The AP's H. Josef Hebert reports: Energy Department officials have informed nearly 1,500 individuals that their Social Security numbers and other information may have been compromised when a hacker gained entry to a department computer system eight months ago, a spokesman said Monday. The workers, mostly contract employees, worked for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous agency within the department that deals with the government's nuclear weapons programs. The computer theft occurred last September, but Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and his deputy, Clay Sell, were not informed of it until last week. It was first publicly disclosed at a congressional hearing on Friday.... The security breach occurred in a computer system at a service center in Albuquerque, N.M. The file that was compromised contained the names, Social Security numbers, security clearance levels and place of employment of 1,502 people working throughout the government nuclear weapons complex. The system contained sensitive, but not classified material, department officials said. The NNSA also has a more secure computer system that includes nuclear weapons data and other classified material. NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks told a House hearing on Friday that he learned of the security breach late last September, but did not inform either the two men to whom he reports - Bodman or Sell.

In less than a month, the Bush administration has had two gaffes on the security of electronic data. Last month there was the DVA fiasco. This month it’s the Energy Department’s turn. The AP’s H. Josef Hebert reports:

Energy Department officials have informed nearly 1,500 individuals that their Social Security numbers and other information may have been compromised when a hacker gained entry to a department computer system eight months ago, a spokesman said Monday. The workers, mostly contract employees, worked for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous agency within the department that deals with the government’s nuclear weapons programs. The computer theft occurred last September, but Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and his deputy, Clay Sell, were not informed of it until last week. It was first publicly disclosed at a congressional hearing on Friday…. The security breach occurred in a computer system at a service center in Albuquerque, N.M. The file that was compromised contained the names, Social Security numbers, security clearance levels and place of employment of 1,502 people working throughout the government nuclear weapons complex. The system contained sensitive, but not classified material, department officials said. The NNSA also has a more secure computer system that includes nuclear weapons data and other classified material. NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks told a House hearing on Friday that he learned of the security breach late last September, but did not inform either the two men to whom he reports – Bodman or Sell.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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