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Secret Service Under Investigation Over Lost Tapes

December 8, 2012
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The Secret Service is the target of an investigation into involving the loss of two backup computer tapes left on a Washington, D.C., Metro train that contained sensitive personal information about all agency employees, contacts and overseas informants, says a Fox News report.  

The Secret Service acknowledged the incident surrounding the lost tapes, but downplayed the security risk, the report says.

The report says the tapes were lost on the Red Line of the Metro in 2008 by a low-level associate of a private contracting company that had been hired to transport them from Secret Service's Investigative Resources Management division at the agency's headquarters in the Penn Quarter section of Washington, D.C., to a secure vault in Olney, Md., where government agencies store contingency plans, documents and other backup material. The employee had volunteered to deliver the tapes because he lived near the location of the vault, but got off at the Glenmont, Md., Metro stop without the tapes, according to the report. 

Sources said the "personally identifiable information" on the tapes includes combinations of the following:  Social Security Numbers; home addresses; information about family members; phone numbers; dates of birth; medical information; bank account numbers; employment information; driver's license numbers; passport numbers; and any biometric information on file with the Secret Service.

Another source said the tapes also contained backup case file information from computers at Secret Service headquarters, the report says. The tapes contained a "mishmash of everything" from Secret Service computers because it was part of a now-outdated "disk shuffling" system used to transfer information between Secret Service computers and the off-site backup facility, according to the report.  

In an email response to FoxNews.com's request for comment, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed the incident, but said the information on the tapes was protected.

   

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