On Sept. 27, I was at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, University Drive Division, to have blood drawn. It was early morning and perhaps a female VA employee did not have her cup of coffee yet when she asked a fellow veteran who was sitting no more than 2 feet from me for his complete Social Security number. Yep, that's right. I overheard the SSN in its entirety.
I might just want to refresh the VA's memory. Back in 2006, one of your employees had his laptop stolen with the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for about 26.6 million active-duty personnel and veterans. Medical privacy laws prevent unauthorized disclosure of any protected medical information, which includes SSNs.
Now, I know that sometimes, the U.S. government has a very slow learning curve, but I kind of hoped that after that fiasco, the VA might have learned a lesson or two.
The writer is a retired Navy chief petty officer who served as a photographer for 23 years.