Panel to Probe IRS Employee Who Took Data Home

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., on Tuesday issued a statement saying, “In the past, the IRS has released personal taxpayer information to the public, and has not been able to effectively prevent and detect identity theft. " Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., on Tuesday issued a statement saying, “In the past, the IRS has released personal taxpayer information to the public, and has not been able to effectively prevent and detect identity theft. " J. Scott Applewhite/AP

This story has been updated.

A House committee chairman is investigating a recent report that an Internal Revenue Service worker took home data on 20,000 agency employees on a thumb drive.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., on Tuesday issued a statement saying, “In the past, the IRS has released personal taxpayer information to the public, and has not been able to effectively prevent and detect identity theft. This latest report is concerning. The IRS has repeatedly broken the American people’s trust, and the Ways and Means Committee will take a thorough look into this incident.”

The same day, the IRS published a statement saying employees had been informed of the only recently discovered data security breach. “The information at issue, which we presently believe dates back to 2007 or earlier, included IRS employee-related information and not general taxpayer information or records,” the agency said. “The incident stems from an employee's use of an unencrypted thumb drive and does not involve a third-party breach of any of our systems. This was not a problem with our network or systems, but rather an isolated instance. “

The statement said the IRS is currently working cooperatively with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on next steps. “At this point, we have no direct evidence to indicate this personal information has been used for identity theft or other inappropriate uses,” the agency continued. “The IRS strongly believes this situation could not occur in today’s environment, because starting in 2008 we added automatic encryption for any external portable devices attached to our systems.”

Commissioner John Koskinen in an email to staff called the event “an isolated incident” that briefly exposed Social Security numbers and names and addresses of employees online. He also said that the current and prior employees, who worked in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, were being contacted. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.