From reuters news wire…

Personal data collected on military, civilian and contractor employees seeking federal security clearances between 1997 and 2005 could be at risk due to inaccurate record-keeping by the Pentagon agency that did the investigations, an audit showed on Thursday.

The Defense Security Service (DSS) was initially unable to account for 501 laptops used by its investigators and loaded with personal identity data, posing an undue risk to those people’s privacy, the Pentagon’s internal watchdog said in the audit.

Most of the laptops have since been found, but the report said questions remained about how well DSS was tracking its assets.

DSS handled security clearance investigations until February 2005, when the Office of Personnel Management took over.

“DSS management in place during the transfer of the personnel security investigation function to OPM created a lack of accountability for assets, posing an undue risk … for military, civilian, and contractor employees who were investigated for security clearances between 1997 and 2005”, said the audit by the Pentagon inspector general. DSS later located 308 of the 501 laptops…read more.

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