Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Privacy Data Storage Government Security United States News

Hard Drive With Clinton-Era Data Missing From Nat'l Archives 180

CWmike writes "An external hard drive that's believed to contain nearly 1TB of data from the Clinton Administration is missing from the US National Archives and Recording Administration (NARA). The drive includes more than 100,000 Social Security numbers and home addresses of people who visited or worked at the White House. Among those whose information is on the list is one of then-Vice President Al Gore's three daughters. The drive also contained details on the security procedures used by the Secret Service at the White House, as well as event logs, social gathering logs, political records and other information from the Clinton administration. Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.) said the Archives was in the process of converting information from the drive to a digital records system when it apparently disappeared. The hard drive was apparently removed from a secure storage area to a workplace where at least 100 'badge-holders' had access to it, Issa noted."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hard Drive With Clinton-Era Data Missing From Nat'l Archives

Comments Filter:
  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maugle ( 1369813 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:27PM (#28032529)
    But it's OK, because the data was encrypted, right? RIGHT?
  • A "secure" area (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mad Merlin ( 837387 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:28PM (#28032547) Homepage

    The hard drive was apparently removed from a secure storage area...

    Obviously not secure enough.

  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:35PM (#28032669)

    The article says "data from the Clinton administration", not "hard drive from the Clinton administration".

  • TFA does shed some light:

    -The drive loss occurred between Oct. 2008 and March 2009. TFA also states that the *data* was Clinton era, not the hardware itself. The data could've been census data from the Grover Cleveland administration for all that it matters to the incident. The disappearance occurred during the switch from the W. Bush to Obama administrations.

    -The item stolen was an "external hard drive", which opens up the floor to discussion. Could have been a USB enclosure, could have been an externally attached Fibre Channel storage array.

  • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pablodiazgutierrez ( 756813 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:53PM (#28032893) Homepage

    It'd be nicer if the real world would learn from the cryptography field. Meaning no White House security procedure would be considered really safe if it hasn't been publicly reviewed. Everything else is security through obscurity, and it's bound to be leaked as shown. Just speculating.

  • by Trikki Nikki! ( 1516301 ) * on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:56PM (#28032925)

    I call shenanigans (or bad reporting) on this story. There were no 1TB hard drives 9 years ago (except maybe in HD manufacturers labs). You might have had an external array, but not a drive. I don't remember for sure, but I'd say a single hard drive was max ~250GB in 2000?

    I call shenanigans on your reply. The data was from the Clinton administration. Now I am nowhere near the geek/nerd/intellectual that most /.ers are, but maybe, just maybe, the data was transferred onto the device at some point?

    From an article on the same website as the original linked story ( []("Missing drive had no original Clinton records, says National Archives"): "According to the statement released this afternoon, the 2-TB drive was being used for "routine re-copying" as part of a records preservation process. The small 2.5-pound Western Digital MY Book external hard drive contained information from about 113, 4mm tape cartridges and weighs about 2.5 pounds. The tapes contained "snapshots" of the contents of hard drives of employees leaving from the Executive Offices of the President and contained both federal and Presidential records."

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:10PM (#28033099)

    It'd be nicer if the real world would learn from the cryptography field. Meaning no White House security procedure would be considered really safe if it hasn't been publicly reviewed. Everything else is security through obscurity, and it's bound to be leaked as shown. Just speculating.

    Ah, no public review is necessary when it clearly falls under the guise of Common Fucking Sense. When grasping for words to describe the incompetency here, I believe in the ramblings of of the Bull Durham Coach. This is a simple game. You get the data. You save the data. You encrypt the data. YOU GOT IT?!?

  • by Chabo ( 880571 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:16PM (#28033143) Homepage Journal

    I think it's just that you see people criticizing the current administration, and see it as "the Right bashing the Left".

    Some of us just don't like power-hungry politicians, no matter which way they lean socially.

  • Re:Incoming (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:20PM (#28033195)

    If we start seeing lots of dirt being dug up on the Clinton administration, now we'll know why.

    not that I'm terribly fond of them, but they didn't ruin the place like the most recent outgoing group did.

    No, the Clinton White House had their own special brand of corruption and evil. The W administration didn't "ruin" the place; the country survived okay, but W acted like he was Caesar, not the President.

    A pox on both their houses, Democrat and Republican, I say.

  • Re:Incoming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sun.Jedi ( 1280674 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:25PM (#28033257) Journal

    but they didn't ruin the place like most recent outgoing group did.

    Pelosi ... still there
    Dodd ... still there
    Frank ... still there
    Kennedy ... still there
    Obama ... got promoted ... still there

    I don't get it. Were you making a joke?

  • No car analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thethibs ( 882667 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:35PM (#28033363) Homepage

    How do we put this in terms this gang can understand?

    How often has an IT admin, just doing his job, backed up sensitive HR files to an unsecured backup medium stored in an unsecured area? What? Encrypt the backup just for a few HR files? The files are scattered all over the SAN. Too much trouble. Besides, they're safe here. There's just eighteen admins with access to the area. Yah--the same eighteen people who know the one password we use for all the databases.

    In an Archive, the preservationists are the "techies". They keep the archive available. These are the guys who keep building indexes and copying stuff from old media to new media so it's always readable. They are the "backup people", and like most IT admins, they don't let anything get in the way of doing what they believe is their mission.

    What most likely happened was that, instead of taking their equipment into the high security zone to process the sensitive information in there, they brought the sensitive information out to their equipment in the low security zone. It was the expedient thing to do. I think also illegal.

    No conspiracy here, just laziness and a lack of security awareness.

  • Re:A "secure" area (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:57PM (#28033595) Homepage

    Uhh, the security is the issue. Why was such a sensitive device allowed to be removed from a secure area into an "area where 1000 badge holders had access"? As with all "secure" systems, the biggest security issue is people. If you're not going to enforce security then there's no point having it.

  • Yeah, you sense partisanship, your own. The article didn't say or even imply the Clinton admin spirited away the data, fuck 1 tb drives didn't even exist in his administration. The article title is "Hard drive with Clinton-era data missing from National Archives". As in, a hard drive with Clinton era existed (ie they didnt destroy/lose the data before it was transferred to the archives) and now it is missing. The article clearly says "The drive was discovered missing in early April and the breach was immediately reported to senior officials at the NARA".

    Furthermore it is being reported on by ComputerWorld, a site about tech news that doesn't exactly seem to have some grand political agenda (unless that agenda is to point out exactly how incompetent the IT staff at the National Archives is).

    It's clear the partisan element here is you, and your thinking has become so clouded you are seeing conspiracies where there aren't any. We have a name for that, it is called paranoia. Paranoia seems to be behind a lot of the mistakes the Bush administration made, perhaps you should learn from their mistakes.

    Data archives should be encrypted where possible, and data archives stored on external drives should always be encrypted. Furthermore, Social Security numbers of Clinton era staffers should have been purged in the first place, as there is no historical reason to save them and plenty of reason to delete them. This is a fuck-up by the National Archives, and they should be held accountable for their fuck-up. There is no reason to complicate the matter with politics.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:06PM (#28033705) Homepage Journal

    They were actually reporting it as a single *2TB* external hard drive.

    Of course it was one of the total airhead reporters and CNN is known for not even taking to their own IT folks down the hall to make sure something they are saying about technology even makes sense on their surface.

  • Re:Incoming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:14PM (#28033809) Homepage Journal

    As well as that....nearly 1TB of data, if compressed, could take up 300GB of space, or less.

    Depending on the data, of course.

    If it's just a bunch of excel files with personal info in them, they'll compress quite well.
    If it's .bmp files of everybody's fingerprints, it will also compress well.

    If it's binary biometric data (unlikely) then it won't compress well at all.

  • by INT_QRK ( 1043164 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:31PM (#28034529)
    I'll call your BS. Quote from article: "the loss is believed to have occurred between October 2008 and March 2009." Seems the time of uncertainly lies equally in both administrations, which you spin to the left. Partisanship indeed.
  • Re:But... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:33PM (#28035063)

    Would it make a difference? The official "encryption" of the Clinton era to be pushed upon us blood and bread accepting masses had a dual key that the NSA or some gov agency could use. Back then, DES (not triple) was also considered acceptable.

    The real problem is how the hell a drive like that gets lost or stolen. It's one thing for crappy network security, but when physical things of some importance are getting lost, who's running the joint?

  • Re:But... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:59PM (#28035299) Homepage Journal

    will the current crop of retards realize

    By current crop of retards, do you mean the administration? The people who put them in office, both, or government in general?


  • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JackieBrown ( 987087 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:50PM (#28035589)

    If this harddrive was from the Bush administration, would we be worried about the encryption or screaming of another cover up?

  • Re:No car analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @01:45AM (#28036197)

    You have absolutely *no* basis for any of what you just said.

    You've fabricated a complete fantasy and presented it as fact, you are the person you rail against - a conspiracy theorist of a slightly different stripe.

    There's a million explanations of what could have happened. The only rational thing to do is wait for some ort of investigation to produce results. To present a fantasy of your own making then state that it's case closed is the hieght of stupidity.

    The fact that you are modded to +5 insightful glaringly shows the extreme need for the people in this tiny little group to believe that everything in life is peachy squeaky clean and just an innocent accident. Thank god none of you are cops, nobody would ever be arrested!

    "See officer what happened is the person was just cleaning my gun and it accidently shot and then the wind blew their money into my pocket. As you know there's no such thing as malice!"

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10