A computer hard drive which contained huge amounts of personal and sensitive information from the Clinton administration is missing. Some of this information includes Social Security numbers, personal addresses and even scarier, Secret Service and White House operational procedures.
Yesterday, government officials were briefed about the compromise, which was originally discovered in April. The hard drive held a terabyte of computer data that could contain millions of individual records. A terabyte of data would be enough to fill millions of books, according to this article published by the AP.
The media is reporting that the personal information of one of Al Gore's three daughters was one of the millions of records gone missing – although it is not clear which daughter's information was compromised. Given the amount of information stolen, it's likely a lot of other notable as well as ordinary people have been compromised, too. According to articles I read, authorities are still trying to figure out exactly what was on the hard drive.
The drive was lost sometime between March 2008 and April 2009 from the National Archives and Administrations in College Park, MD, which is a Washington suburb near the University of Maryland.
The drive was left out, unsecured, in a room that is frequently left unlocked for ventilation. According to an unidentified source, a researcher who was converting the information to a digital records system left the hard drive on a shelf for an unknown period of time. When the researcher tried to resume work on the project, it was discovered to be missing.
According to Rep. Edolphus Towns, Democrat-N.Y., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, they are seeking more information on the breach, and the FBI is investigating.
The FBI will have a lot of suspects in this case. One hundred badge holders had access to the area. Additionally,the point of compromise is an area where workers, interns and even visitors pass on their way to the restroom.
This information would normally be stored in a secure area. Thus far, officials are quick to point out that it is unknown whether the hard drive was stolen or accidentally lost, and if any sensitive security information was lost.