Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators Demand Answers on Veterans’ Privacy Breach

The demands come following a News 3 investigation into an incident in April where a Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs employee, using a federal VA.gov email address, sent an email with the Social Security numbers of hundreds of Wisconsin veterans to a random citizen. News 3 has learned the email that contained the disability claims of Wisconsin veterans was sent unredacted and unencrypted at least three other times since June 2014 to people who weren’t authorized by the VA to view that material….

“I am concerned that the federal VA seems to lack proper information technology and software protocols to protect veterans’ private health information,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wrote in a statement to News 3 [pdf]. “I am particularly concerned that this seemingly isolated incident in Wisconsin could potentially be part of a much larger nationwide problem.”

….”Our office has raised a number of questions with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald about the VA’s implementation of tools to protect veterans’ personally identifiable information,” wrote Meghan Roh, spokeswoman for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D-Wis.), in an email to News 3 [pdf]. “We look forward to getting answers from the VA so that veterans can be assured the VA is doing everything possible to protect their private information from unintended disclosure.”

Johnson gave VA staff until Nov. 11 to respond to numerous questions. He said the issue fell under the purview of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that he heads…..

Via Wis. senators demand answers from VA over privacy breach @ WISC-TV 3 Channel3000.com

Hundreds of Veterans’ Social Security Numbers Emailed to Third Party

Combined, the four data reports contained the disability claim numbers of nearly 2,000 Wisconsin veterans. An open records request to learn who received the emails from June 1, 2014-April 1, 2015, has not been answered by the WDVA.

“The WDVA has tightened protocols regarding privacy to safeguard sensitive information,” Vigue wrote. “We no longer share the report in question.”

The internal investigation recommended Michalowski and his subordinate, Colin Overstreet, who actually sent the email, be suspended for one day. Both have since left their positions at the WDVA. Neither Michalowski nor Overstreet agreed to comment on what happened.

Multiple requests for an on-camera interview with Scocos were denied. An on-camera interview with his deputy, Kathy Marschman, was canceled less than two hours before it was scheduled. In a meeting to discuss an interview, Marschman said protecting the personally identifiable information of Wisconsin veterans was one of the department’s top priorities, but a review of the department’s 2015-16 strategic plan does not mention that.

Via Veteran receives email listing hundreds of Social Security numbers @ WISC-TV 3 Channel3000.com.

Mistreated, otherwise ignored

“What, I wonder, would happen if our elected officials and their families, and our Federal employees and their families were placed under the care of the Veteran’s Administration?  Would another year pass with the situation worsening rather than improving?  Of course not because they would see to it that changes were made and made very…

Paid to honor

“You go to a game and you see a team honoring ‘Hometown Heroes,’ and you think it’s some sort of public service announcement,” Flake told ESPN, “that the team is doing it out of the goodness of their heart. Then you find out it’s paid for? That seems a little unseemly.” Via Report: Packers, 13…

At least no one’s starving

Janet Piraino — former state director for U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Madison Democrat — will replace Doug Hill, who was demoted as Baldwin’s director of state operations in March. Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, bumped Hill from that $131,000-a-year post after a report commission by Baldwin was critical of her staff’s handling of complaints about…


Whistleblowers, families ask for accountability at Tomah VA hearing http://t.co/iwp7Umreoq pic.twitter.com/LNWuBM72mY — Wis. State Journal (@WiStateJournal) March 31, 2015


One Johnson staffer told the whistleblower that back in October, and the assertion has been repeated in media reports by another Johnson aide. But a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who ran the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Federal Contracting Oversight, said Sunday that the whistleblower complaints never reached her or others…

The VA’s Candy Man

An official confirmed that the state Department of Safety and Professional Services is investigating David Houlihan, chief of staff at the troubled Tomah facility. Houlihan had been given the nickname "Candy Man" by some vets for his supposedly easy and widespread distribution of painkillers. He wrote at least some of the prescriptions for a 35-year-old…

Why wait months?

USA Today reported that Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s office received an inspection report last summer detailing high amounts of opiates prescribed at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah. Baldwin called for an investigation of the facility last week, but only after news coverage revealed a veteran had died from an overdose at the facility.…

When final resting place doesn’t mean final

Walker wants to expand I-94 against the wishes of numerous Milwaukee community groups and dig up and move the resting place of veterans at Wood National Cemetery, “located on the grounds of a former Soldiers Home that today is called the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.” “(W)hen a vet is interred, it…

Veterans hit back

“Four months after telling veterans to “stand down” on opposing a bill meant to curtail asbestos lawsuits, veterans advocate Jason Johns joined Democrats in introducing a bill that would repeal the measure Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law…..” Via Remember how WI GOP threw vets under a bus with that asbestos bill? Vets are…

Disrespecting Veterans

Walker was at an event in the morning at Woods National Cemetery in Milwaukee.  This is the same cemetery that Walker is considering tearing up and disturbing the final resting place of hundreds of veterans who gave their all, just so he can appease the road builders, a big time, long time contributor to his…