Rich Galen

  • From the Washington Post:
    "As many as 26.5 MILLION VETERANS were placed at risk of identity theft after an intruder stole an electronic data file this month containing their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, Secretary Jim Nicholson said yesterday."

  • First of all, the burglary took place on May 3. This story was released on May 23 - THREE WEEKS after 26.5 MILLION VETERANS were put at risk - by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • On the side of the VA building in downtown Washington are the words, "is: "… To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan …" which is from Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address.

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has fallen somewhat short of that motto with this incident.

  • I happen to know, like, and respect Secretary Nicholson who, in addition to having been Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Ambassador to the Vatican was, according to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia:
    A graduate of the United States Military Academy; a paratrooper and Ranger-qualified Army officer; fought in the Vietnam War, where he earned the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and two Air Medals.

  • What Jim Nicholson is not, is a computer expert.

  • According to the Associated Press, some unnamed dope took home a "government-owned laptop and disks containing the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of veterans discharged since 1975."

  • Hello? Earth to the VA. You mean to tell me that you have the unencrypted files of 26.5 MILLION VETERANS - "who shall have borne the battle" - on a computer which are download-able to a laptop that any moke in the Department can take home?

  • And, just in case you thing this may lead to a modest bit of inconvenience for 26.5 MILLION VETERANS, again, according to the AP:
    Date of birth and Social Security number enable identity thieves to obtain credit reports, bank and credit card accounts and place of residence.

    In other cases, such information could let terrorists use false identities to board planes or allow illegal immigrants to get a job.

  • Department of Veterans Affairs? Let me introduce you to the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at