TSA Loses Hard Drive Containing Personal Information For 100,000 Workers

The Transportation Security Administration, the division of the Department of Homeland Security charged with keeping bombs and pies away from planes, has misplaced an external hard drive containing social security numbers, bank data, and payroll information for 100,000 employees. We say “misplaced” because the TSA is not sure if the laptop was stolen, or “is still within headquarters.”

The agency, which currently employs 50,000 people, is informing the 100,000 affected employees who worked at the agency between January 2002 and August 2005 that they will receive one year of free credit monitoring. TSA employees are less than happy:

“It’s seems like there’s a problem with security inside Homeland Security and that makes no sense,” said James Slade, a TSA screener and the executive vice president of the National Treasury Employees Union chapter at John F. Kennedy International Airport. “That’s scary. That’s my identity. And now who has a hold of it? So many things go on in your mind.”

— CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

TSA Loses Hard Drive With Personal Info [AP]
(Photo: Peter Kaminski)

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  1. gwong says:

    Good job handling your employees’ security, Transportation Security Administration. How can we trust you guys to detect potential theats in passenger luggage when you can’t even find your own laptop?

  2. glitch44 says:


    i’d like to think this karmic retibution for the TSA jerks that were so rude to me when I was trying to find Lost & Found at LAX. Welcome to Identity Theft, Bitches.

  3. jwissick says:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of incompenent morons.

  4. dantsea says:

    “It’s seems like there’s a problem with security inside Homeland Security and that makes no sense,” aid James Slade, a TSA screener

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I hope he was being sarcastic.

  5. Trai_Dep says:

    I think it’s wonderful that these incompetent boobs suffer the same fate that they’ve foisted upon the citizens of this nation. About the only thing missing is having TSA running around blowing up employee’s homes, then charging them $2m for it.

    Really. Honestly.

    These guys have so little intellectual curiosity and basic human empathy that they need to have their horrors visited on themselves before they even begin to realize how crappy of a job they’re doing.

  6. jaredharley says:

    @gwong: How can we trust you guys to detect potential theats in passenger luggage when you can’t even find your own laptop?

    We can’t! March 30, 2007: Undercover agents slip bombs past DIA screeners.

    And this is no different than when my alma mater lost a hard drive containing 10 years of names and information on employees (both student and regular), except that we didn’t get free credit monitoring.

  7. weave says:

    Be afraid, very afraid. It doesn’t take losing a laptop or a security breach to compromise a lot of personal data. Many an IT worker or other employees who work at places that have your data can often lift and sell your info.

    Take something simple as an email address (and they DO get “taken”). I have my own domain name and can create an infinite number of email address aliases. I use unique ones I only give out once so I know where they leaked from if I get spam. I’ve gotten spam from companies I’ve registered with very often including two major computer companies and a cell provider.

    Do I think those companies sold them? Probably not because the spam is from small-time scammers. Most probable reason is that some employee lifted the info out of a database and sold it on the side.

  8. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Good job, Transportation INSECURITY administration and Department of Homeland INSECURITY.

    Everyone from TIA (I mean TSA) head Kip Hawley to the IT guys that can’t keep track of laptops should be FIRED.

    Nice to see that our tax dollars are actually going to hire incompetent morons with fancy degrees instead of morons with a BA from Podunk U.(by the way the head of TSA has a JD)

  9. scoobydoo says:

    In any other event I would feel sorry for the poor souls that fear the loss of their identity. But in this event I really just can’t help snicker.

    This isn’t the case of an organization with a few bad apples, every single apple I run into every single week I fly is incompetent, rude and inefficient. It couldn’t happen to a better organization. They have proven over and over again that they are incapable of even the simplest of tasks, and now they have proven that they can’t even keep their own staff safe.

    Way to go! I guess Kip Hawley really is an idiot.

  10. shdwsclan says:

    I always thought and understood that the NSA was created for security.

    Why and HOW are the NSA and Homeland Security different, are they not the same thing created redundantly…..

    Also, the question is if the hard drive was encrypted or not…

  11. VA_White says:

    These are the same yahoos who practically gave the 90 year old man in front of me a body cavity search at Sky Harbor in Phoenix last week. FSM knows the wheelchair-bound elderly are a serious threat to airline security. Can I say fucktards here?

  12. zolielo says:

    @jaredharley:

    We can’t! March 30, 2007: Undercover agents slip bombs past DIA screeners.

    For I second I thought that you meant the Defense Intelligence Agency (they are actually good). I see that you mean Transportation Security Administration agents at Denver International Airport.

    The Consumerist covered that story: “>http://consumerist.com/consumer/tsa/tsa-misses-90-of-bom

    I still think that what I said sadly continues.

    Their pay is too low, too much time share, too much turn over, too many promotions by attrition, too low of standards, too few in numbers, etc.

    The Red team is prob their best, has insider knowledge, experienced, etc.

    Could there have been any other outcome?

    I truly hope that the TSA develops better command and control at all level and in all tasks…

  13. Uriel says:

    Hom..mand security…no place laptop right…information….fl..fly way…RAWRRRRRRR!!!!

  14. Uriel says:

    You’d be amazed how many companies the above template can cover, simply by replacing the company name[hom..mand security], the object of discontent[laptop] and the object of interest [information].

  15. Nytmare says:

    Why does sensitive data keep getting copied off the central server onto portal hardware? STOP DOING THAT!

  16. AndyFromTucson says:

    What I think is ridiculous is that we have let the credit reporting agencies turn our social security numbers into sensitive data that we, and our employers and everyone else, have to spend billions keeping secret and secure.

    Think about it. Whats the only reason you want to keep your SSN secret? Its because under our current system for extending credit anyone who knows our SSN and name can open an account in our name. We could solve the whole identify theft problem, and save society billions, just by passing a law saying that the freaking credit reporting agencies have to get our permission by phone, email or snail mail before they release our credit history. Then we could freely disclose our SSN, and any other personal information without fear.

  17. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Well, maybe they should hire a competent agency to search for the data. I wonder where they could find one?

    Maybe they should store SS #’s using a sophisticated encryption system.

    And why on earth do I need my SS # printed on every paycheck stub? I know my own SS#. Furthermore, if you open up a credit account, why can’t there be more steps to verify that you are actually who you are?

  18. Sudonum says:

    @AndyFromTucson: Because banks and merchants want to make it as easy as possible for us to spend money, money we don’t have, so then we open an “instant” revolvong charge account. Anything that puts the brakes on that is a problem for those making money off of us. God forbid we use a little common sense here.

  19. TechnoDestructo says:

    @shdwsclan:

    “NSA” is a euphemism. It is a surveillance organization (ostensibly a foreign surveillance organization) They have nothing to do with directly providing physical security for anyone, including themselves in many cases.

  20. Mr. Gunn says:

    Clearly, these guys can be trusted with a national database of every American and immigrant.

    AndyFromTucson: Would this be the appropriate time to remind everyone which company was chosen as the most invasive company worldwide?

  21. Optimistic Prime says:

    No longer content being Thousands Standing Around, now they’re Thousands of Stolen Aliases. Certainly makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside…

  22. nffcnnr says:

    The Transportation Security Administration…today’s “Worst Persons in the Wooooooooorrrrld