Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS CALL FOR ACTION TO PROTECT MILITARY PERSONAL INFORMATION

Washington, DC — Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, and Jack Reed today demanded the Bush Administration immediately act to ensure the security of our troops, their families, and our nation. In the latest troubling admission of Bush Administration incompetence, the Department of Veterans Affairs admitted that it has put at risk the personal information of 2.2 million active duty, Reserve, and National Guard troops.

This revelation, coming on the heals of the disclosure that the Department of Veterans Affairs lost the information for up to 26.5 million veterans, is a stunning mistake that has called into question the already-suspect competence of the Bush Administration. Americans have real questions about whether Bush Republicans are truly as willing or able to protect the nation as they claim.

“Because of the VA’s recklessness, our veterans–and our active-duty service members who, at this very moment, are risking their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere–now have to worry about whether their personal information could be sold on the black market or fall into the hands of terrorists or foreign intelligence services,” said Leahy, one of Congress’s leading privacy advocates and co-chairman of the Senate National Guard Caucus. “It all adds up to a heckuva bad job for America’s veterans, and for our men and women in uniform.”

“America’s veterans already face problems getting the healthcare they have earned. Now active-duty service members, veterans and their families have to worry that their personal information was stolen and could be used by criminals to destroy their credit. Those who serve us in the military deserve the peace of mind that their information is protected and their families are safe. This Administration has a lot of work to do to win back the trust it has squandered,” said Senator Murray.

“This is a major security breach. The identities of our brave men and women fighting to protect our nation could end up in the hands of individuals seeking to harm not only these soldiers and veterans, but possibly the security of our nation,” said Senator Reed, who served in the Army and Army Reserves from 1971 to 1991 and whose personal information was among those stolen. “The loss of this information is unacceptable. We need to do everything can to recover this information before it falls into the wrong hands and we must ensure this kind of thing does not happen again.”

Democrats know the first responsibility of government is to protect the American people, and a strong military is necessary to ensure our national security. The Democratic Real Security plan is a comprehensive agenda that will rebuild our armed forces after years of Bush Republican incompetence. With the personal information of our troops and our veterans at risk, and it is time for a new direction.

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