This week, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provided a status update on the loss of an external hard drive containing copies of Clinton Administration Executive Office of the President (EOP) data. In May, NARA announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of the hard drive. The agency learned in March 2009 that the hard drive was missing from a processing room at NARA’s College Park, Maryland facility.
The missing hard drive was last seen sometime between October 2008 and the first week of February and was discovered missing on or about March 24, 2009. According to NARA, on that date staff members began a comprehensive search for the missing hard drive. As soon as NARA staff confirmed in early April 2009 that the hard drive was missing, they reported it to NARA senior officials, including the Acting Archivist of the United States, the Inspector General (IG), and Senior Agency Official for Privacy/General Counsel.
There is an on-going criminal investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service into the loss of the hard drive. Individuals with information about the missing hard drive are urged to call the Secret Service’s Washington Field Office at 202-406-8800.
The external hard drive includes some personally identifying information (PII) of persons who may have worked in the Clinton Executive Office of the President, visited the White House complex, or submitted PII to the White House. The National Archives recently sent notification letters to approximately 15,750 individuals whose names and social security numbers are on the missing hard drive. The Archives is offering these individuals one year of free credit monitoring.
The notifications letters were written on National Archives letter head and signed by Adrienne C. Thomas, Acting Archivist of the United States. However, the letters were mailed by Experian, the credit monitoring contractor, who formatted the letters and envelopes in a manner that raised questions by some recipients about the authenticity of the breach notification letters and the offer of free credit monitoring. NARA issued a public statement this week informing all individuals affected by the breach that the notification letters are legitimate.
Any member of the public who is concerned that his or her personal information may have been compromised as a result of this potential breach should call the National Archives Breach Response Call Line at 1-877-281-0771 or 301-837-3769 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.