Updated: FBI says that a temp named Khalil Abdullah-Raheem has been arrested in the theft of a computer containing VA data.
WASHINGTONThe Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs is reporting that an office computer reported stolen from a Unisys Corp. office in Virginia has been recovered, and a Washington, D.C., resident has been arrested in the case.
According to a VA spokesperson, the arrest took place Sept. 13.
Arrested in the case was Khalil Abdullah-Raheem, an employee of a contractor that provides temporary labor to Unisys.
Abdullah-Raheem was charged in federal court in Alexandria, Va., yesterday for theft of government property and released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond. According to James J. (Jim) ONeill, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations for the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, Abdullah-Raheem will appear at the federal courthouse in Alexandria on Sept. 15, for a preliminary hearing on felony theft charges. The government will present evidence regarding probable cause at that hearing.
According to the announcement, investigators dont believe that the alleged thief was after the personal information of the 16,000 veterans treated at the VA Medical Centers in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. "We believe that the accused did not steal the computer to get VA data," ONeill told eWEEK.
The FBI is currently conducting a forensic analysis of the computer to see if the veterans information was compromised after it was stolen.
"The next step is to await the results of the forensic analysis to see if the data was compromised," ONeill said. "If its unclear or we cant rule it out fairly definitively, the investigation will continue," he said.
ONeill added that Abdullah-Raheem was going to court on the felony theft charges regardless of whether the data was compromised.
"Were thrilled that the computer has been recovered and an arrest has been made," a Unisys spokesperson told eWEEK. "The FBI is continuing its forensic examination; we hope well be able to tell you that the data was not compromised," the spokesperson said.
"The theft happened despite Unisys robust security measures, including video surveillance, key card access and round-the-clock security personnel," the spokesperson explained. "As a matter of course, Unisys continues to re-evaluate and adjust as necessary its security protocols," the spokesperson said.
ONeill said that he expects the FBI forensic analysis to be finished very soon and that he expects to see the report in a few days.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include information
and comments from James ONeill and a Unisys spokesperson.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.