Stolen Unisys PC containing VA data recovered

Law enforcement has recovered the desktop computer stolen from Unisys Corp. that contained personal information of about 16,000 patients treated in Veterans Affairs Department medical centers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, according to a joint announcement from the FBI and VA's Office of Inspector General.

Khalil Abdullah-Raheem of Washington, who worked for a company that provides temporary labor to Unisys, was arrested and charged yesterday in federal court with theft of government property. A judge released him on his own recognizance after he posted a $50,000 bond.

VA secretary Jim Nicholson praised the investigative work of the FBI and VA's Office of Inspector General.

"It appears that the Unisys computer was not targeted for the veteran information it may have contained," Nicholson said in a statement.

The VA data contained insurance claim information with names, addresses and personal identifiers, VA said. The FBI is conducting a forensics analysis to determine whether VA data was compromised.

The recovered computer was stolen last month from the Unisys office in Reston, Va. The alleged thief was working there temporarily as a building maintenance employee, Craig said. The company had offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of a missing desktop computer.

Unisys had observed security controls, but there was no requirement to encrypt the data, Unisys spokeswoman Lisa Meyer has said.

"The building and floor where the computer was located require security protocols for physical access. Log-in and password protocols also were required to access the data, which were stored in a database on the computer," she said.

Mary Mosquera is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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