May 20th, 2009
09:49 PM ET
9 years ago

National Archives loses hard drive with Clinton era records

A hard drive containing Clinton administration records is missing from the National Archives in Washington.

A hard drive containing Clinton administration records is missing from the National Archives in Washington.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –The National Archives - a repository of important government documents, including the U.S. Constitution - has lost a computer hard drive containing large volumes of Clinton administration records, include the names, phone numbers and Social Security numbers of White House staff members and visitors.

Officials at the Archives say they don't know how many confidential records are on the hard drive. But congressional aides briefed on the matter say it contains "more then 100,000" Social Security numbers, including one belonging to a daughter of then-Vice President Al Gore. It also contains Secret Service and White House operating procedures, the staffers said they were told.

The hard drive was last seen in the National Archive's complex in College Park, Md., sometime between October of last year and the first week of February. It was discovered missing in late March, prompting a thorough search for the small, 2.5 pound device, the Archives said.When it could not be located, the inspector general's office opened a criminal investigation.

On Wednesday, the Archives announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to its return.

The Archives said that no national security information is on the hard drive, nor any original documents. But they said it does contain "personally identifiable information," and they take the loss "very seriously."

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, whose staff was briefed on the matter, said the House will hold a hearing Thursday on the incident.

"If they (the National Archives' staff) can't handle a hard drive that may be sensitive properly, we need to ask the question, will they handle the most secret materials properly?" Issa said.

The Archives Wednesday gave the following account of the disappearance:

Last October, the hard drive was moved from a "secure" storage area to a workspace where it was being used for routine recopying to ensure preservation of the records. But work was halted last year because archivists "wanted to investigate using automated tools to generate inspection reports."

Staffers were moved to other projects until an automated tool was found in mid March - that's when they found the hard drive was missing.

The device is described as a two terabyte Western Digital MY BOOK external hard drive, measuring 6.5 x 2.1 x 5.4 inches.

More than 110 4-mm tape cartridges were copied onto the hard drive. The records included records from the Clinton Administration Executive Office of
the President.

The archives said no original records have been lost, and the Archives has a backup hard drive that will enable them to determine what information is on the missing device.

The inspector general said at least 100 people had access to the area where the hard drive was left unsecured, and that janitors, visitors and others also passed through the area.

The Archives said it is reviewing the data on a copy of the missing hard drive and compiling a list of people whose personal information may be compromised. It will notify individuals of the potential breach and will provide them with a year of credit monitoring, the Archives said.

"Because of the extremely large volume of data on the drive, we do not know yet the number of individuals whose privacy has been affected," the Archives said Wednesday. "As individuals are identified, they will be notified."

The Archives also said it has taken steps to improve security, including both physical control of records and the treatment of personal information.

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soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Jane

    Can you say Hilliary Clinton. Amazing how things disappeared when Bill was in office. Hummm.............

    May 20, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Credit monitoring? Please, this is going to result in some witch hunts, mark my words. I smell desperation lol

    May 20, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. JM

    I think Sandy Berger has it with the documents he took out of the national archives. Stuffed em in his socks just like the 9/11 documents.

    May 20, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  4. This is "typical"

    Wow, this is way to easy, wait for it, did anyone check Sandy Burglar's socks?

    Ya, I am way off base here, with Clinton signing off on his access, Burglar stole documents right FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES before the 9-11 commision was to meet and nobody batted an eye?

    Frankly I blame the dolt Bush for not waterboarding Burglar to find out what he and Clinton were hiding, but we will never know because the dolt wanted to look forward and tried to appease Liberals to curry some good press, Ya, Bush, that worked out real good for you.

    May 20, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Nick - West Hills (L.A.), CA


    No Backup?

    No RAID?

    are you kiding?

    May 20, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. Jayden,FL

    Are you kidding me? People need be fired over this...

    May 20, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  7. Scott

    Quick. Check Sandy Berger's Pants!!!!

    May 20, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  8. MJHS1967

    Ask former Attorney General Gonzales for the Clinton records!!! 😦

    May 20, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. WIlly Brown

    Loses records my foot. Where's Sandy Burglar at Bill? Can’t you smell the democrat hypocrisy and corruption yet people!

    May 20, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  10. Chipster

    And no one could believe that 10+ year old billing records could possibly be misplaced? HA! Go figure.

    May 20, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. Obama!!!

    how ummm.. suspicious as usual of the Clinton era.. they always seem to be losing things, destroying information, people dying or missing. Its a mystery that will never be solved.

    May 20, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. jbar

    After the last eight years anything is possible !

    May 20, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  13. lefty loosy

    check Hillary's briefcase

    May 20, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. Sholbo in Atlanta

    Bubba ! Bubba!! Bubba !!!.........This " Bubba " guy is a genius. Out of office and still magical. Bubba ! Bubba !!...What a guy. You gotta love him.He could even make files disappear while out of office.

    May 20, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  15. No Incumbents 2010

    I am sure Rep. Issa will turn the hearing into a partisan attack machine as is his custom.

    May 20, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  16. RR Florida

    Now isn't that a surprise!

    May 20, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. Richard-Arkansas

    I guess Issa will blame this on Clinton. And why is a Republican calling for a meeting.

    May 20, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  18. John

    "If you ever want to out smart a current administration, check out the operating procedures of an old one." - Possible thoughts of a bad guy.

    Doesn't anyone monitor this stuff????

    May 20, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. Molly in MPLS

    Did anyone ask Hillary yet?

    May 20, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  20. Jeff B.

    Someone should immediately determine the whereabouts of one Mr. Sandy Burglar, er Berger....

    May 20, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  21. david reyes

    hiding something?or stolen? i wonder if any scandel info was on it comes up missing right before election time

    May 20, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  22. Jim

    No, they didn't lose anything. His administration just wasn't all that remarkable.

    May 20, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. Dale

    Wow! Missing Clinton era records? That is something you do not see everyday. Oh yes, they are the Clinton's they are allowed to loss records or shred them or hide them to protect themselves.

    May 20, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  24. S M R

    Over 50% of us know he did a great job for our Country and its people,The others are just plain stupid.

    May 20, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  25. Gary

    This is exactly why we do not want the government to run our healthcare system or banking system or auto industry.

    The government is inefficient, apathetic and often incompetent. They lost these records, they failed with Katrina, the intelligence failed us with Iraq, the post office is running a deficit, the SEC failed to investigate Madoff and on and on and on.

    Lets lower taxes and reduce the size of the government!

    May 20, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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