Here’s the quick recap: Stupid employee took home records against VA policy. His house was robbed and the records were stolen. You can read the official story too. Apparently the VA is going to have employees with access to records undergo a basic background check… but I didn’t read of any plans for an intelligence check. First off, why was a single person able to take that much data home (it was against the policy, but I want to know how that could even happen… “uh yeah Bob, I just want to do some work at home, so I’ll be taking these 26.5 million records tonight”). Secondly, why didn’t taking that data raise some flags? Thirdly, why was the data not encrypted? The VA is working out a way to give credit monitoring to the affected individuals for one year… so that means this incident will cost the taxpayers millions and the thieves will have to wait one year and then take advantage of the data… I could go on and on with how stupid the entire situation is, but there is one positive thing: So many records were stolen that, even if the criminals use 1 million of those, I still have a pretty good chance of not being picked!
In other unrelated VA news, I called the VA office in Seattle today to make sure the pharmacy had the correct address for me and the automated voice continued to tell me my call was important to them. That’s good to know! It claimed my call would be answered in approximately six minutes. Six minutes later, my call was still important to them. Thirty minutes later, my call was still important to them. Forty-five minutes later, my call was finally important enough to answer rudely. First thing said: “Give me your last name and last four digits of your social.” Yes, demanding robot, I will comply! No time for, “Hello, what can I do for you today?” I just wonder how, if no pleasantries were used, the previous call(s) took an extra 39 minutes… she then asked for my address and I said, “Well, that’s what I am calling about. I need to verify which address is on file. I was at ___ and now I am at Blah St.” “It’s blah street, I’ll transfer you,” and I was instantly sent back to the automated system. 45 minutes of waiting for a 45 second conversion. Has the VA funding not increased to make up for the extra strain from starting wars? I’m sure it hasn’t increased enough… Or, at the very least, supervisors aren’t firing rude employees or employees that break procedure and threaten millions of vets with identity theft. Not until it is too late anyway.
New slogan: Serve your country! Lose your identity!