Congressman Keller requests briefing on recent VA data breach

Calls for answers on what the department is doing to protect veterans’ personal information

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) this week joined Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in requesting an immediate briefing from Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie on the recent data breach that exposed the personal information of 46,000 veterans.

On September 14, the VA announced that an online system used to process medical payments had been compromised. During the breach, unauthorized users gained access to patients’ personal information, including their social security numbers.

The letter, led by Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-GA), outlines the steps taken by the VA in the immediate aftermath of the breach—commending the department on its rapid response and investigation. Nevertheless, committee members expressed alarm about the vulnerability of veterans’ personal information and requested a briefing to address concerns related to data security.

On the letter, Congressman Fred Keller made the following statement:

“The men and women who have served our country in uniform deserve the confidence of knowing their personal information will be kept safe by the federal government. Looking at a data breach of this magnitude, we need to make sure we fully understand how this happened, what the consequences are, and what steps the VA must take to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“Our veterans have fought hard to protect our country at all costs; it’s only right that we treat their personal information the same way.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.