Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Jim Nicholson told Congress today that he's "mad as hell" he wasn't notified earlier about the theft of the personal information of 26.5 million veterans.
Congress is now determining whether the VA had proper security measures in place at the time of the breach, according to a report by the Associated Press.
"I am outraged at the loss of this veterans’ data and the fact an employee would put it at risk by taking it home in violation of our policies," said Nicholson, himself a veteran of the war in Vietnam. "I am also concerned about the timing of the department’s response once the burglary became known. I will not tolerate inaction and poor judgment when it comes to protecting our veterans."
The FBI and the VA inspector general’s office have launched an investigation into the burglary, which occurred May 3 in Aspen Hill, Va., according to a report in the Washington Post.
The VA plans to send out letters to veterans notifying them of the theft. Veterans can also visit http://www.firstgov.gov or http://www.va.gov/opa for additional information, or they can call (800) 333-4636 to learn more about how to protect themselves against ID theft.