US Department of Veterans Affairs Discloses Data Breach Impacting Nearly 50,000 Veterans
The personal information of approximately 46,000 US veterans was compromised after unauthorized individuals gained access to a Financial Service Center application, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disclosed on Monday.
According to a press release, the unauthorized users who gained access to the application managed to change financial information and divert multiple VA payments intended for medical treatments of US veterans.
“A preliminary review indicates these unauthorized users gained access to the application to change financial information and divert payments from VA by using social engineering techniques and exploiting authentication protocols,” the agency said.
VA’s financial department said that the compromised application was taken offline until it passes a complete security review.
“To prevent any future improper access to and modification of information, system access will not be reenabled until a comprehensive security review is completed by the VA Office of Information Technology,” the VA added.
Although the agency took immediate action to mitigate the breach, individuals whose Social Security Numbers may have been compromised are now vulnerable to identity-theft related crimes.
The VA said it would provide free credit monitoring services to affected individuals and will advise additional instructions on how to safeguard personal information.
“To protect these Veterans, the FSC is alerting the affected individuals, including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased, of the potential risk to their personal information,” the statement reads. “The department is also offering access to credit monitoring services, at no cost, to those whose social security numbers may have been compromised.”
The department encourages individuals notified of the data breach to contact the FSC for additional information. “There is no action needed from Veterans if they did not receive an alert by mail, as their personal information was not involved in the incident,” the VA added.
Veterans Group Discovers Possible
Underground Child Trafficking Camp
Members of a veteran’s advocacy group believe they have discovered a hidden child-trafficking camp in Arizona.
Last month, Veterans on Patrol, a group that helps homeless veterans, were searching for veterans in need near Interstate 19 in Tucson when they came across what looked like an underground bunker. According to KGUN-9, they also found a baby crib, stroller, hair dye, wrist restraints, crates, and pornographic material.
The group contacted local authorities who said while they are not ruling out the possibility that this site was used for human trafficking, they believe the bunker is most likely an abandoned homeless camp.
Veterans on Patrol shared what they discovered with former Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer, who founded Veterans for Child Rescue, a faith-based organization that fights human trafficking. He went to the site and shot footage of what he found.
“The underground bunker is a septic tank and it’s turned on its side and it’s buried partially underground,” Sawyer told CBN News. “It looked cruel and inhumane.. like a place where you would put children so people don’t hear them scream.”
In the bunker he found a chain, children’s clothing, and toy dolls among other things.
While he admits his suspicions of human trafficking could be wrong, he does not believe the site is an abandoned homeless camp like local police suggest.
“I can’t imagine seeing any homeless people putting their children in there willingly. It just does not seem like a hospitable shelter,” he explained.
Sawyer and his team also found a grove of trees nearby with “numerous straps to latch or bind” something or someone to them. If this is indeed a trafficking ring, he believes children could have been tied to the trees and assaulted.
Sawyer says the combination of what appears to be “rape trees” and an underground septic tank with children’s clothes in it leads him to believe children were being trafficked here.
While it’s too early to tell who could be behind the alleged trafficking camp, Sawyer says the location could give some clues.
“MS-13 or the Mexican drug cartel would be my first two guesses,” he explained. The site is located right next to Interstate 19, which runs all the way to Mexico.
Whatever the truth behind this site may be, Sawyer says he will continue to glorify Christ by fighting those who wish to do children harm.
“This is the frontline between good and evil,” he shared, adding that the Church needs to be on the forefront of the battle against human trafficking.
According to Tucson News Now, the local police department is now investigating the veterans group’s discovery.
Video shows nurses laughing as dying WWII vet calls for help
Hidden camera footage recently made public revealed a decorated World War II veteran died after fighting for air while a pair of nurses laughed in front of him.
James Dempsey on Feb. 27, 2014, repeatedly called out to staff members at Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation before he fell unconscious, gasping for air all the while.
Nursing home staff found him unresponsive just before 5:30 a.m. and it took them nearly an hour to call 911, according to state records obtained by WXIA.
Dempsey’s family, who sued the facility in 2014, declined to comment, citing a settlement with the nursing home.
Former nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles testified during the trial that she rushed to the 89-year-old veteran’s room when she learned he’d stopped breathing and performed chest compressions until help arrived.
Nuckles did not know she’d been filmed at the time and the clip directly contradicts her account, which she said was just “an honest mistake.”
Instead, the footage shows nursing staff repeatedly start and stop Dempsey’s chest compressions.
When the responding nurses struggled to get Dempsey’s oxygen machine to start, Nuckles can be heard laughing with them in the background.
“Ma’am was there something funny at the time?” Mike Prieto, the attorney for Dempsey’s family, questioned.
She responded: “I can’t even remember all that, as you can see.”
Retired nursing professor Elaine Harris identified several violations, including failure to respond, failure to assess and failure to act.
“In 43 years of nursing, I have never seen such disregard for human life in a health care setting,” she told the news station.
Attorneys representing the Atlanta nursing home attempted to block WXIA from releasing the footage, but in the end dropped its appeal with the Georgia State Supreme Court.
Both Nuckles and another nurse were fired, but not until nearly a year after the incident. And they only just turned in their licenses in September — nearly three years after Dempsey’s death.
A spokesperson for the Georgia Board of Nursing could not confirm when the state became aware of the video, but the board’s action did come on the heels of receiving a link to the video.
A spokesperson for the nursing home, owned by Sava Senior Care, in a statement wrote they were “saddened by the events which occurred three years ago” before going on to note it has “new leadership and the leadership team and the staff have worked very diligently to improve quality care and the quality of life for our residents.”
Dallas Celebrates Veterans Day 2017
With Parade, Flyover
DALLAS, TX – Dallas kicked off Veterans Day weekend early on Friday with a festival in Downtown.
More than 150 men and women take the Oath of Enlistment, led by Army Chief of Staff Mark A. Milley.
Thousands showed up to Dallas City Hall where a parade and other honorary events were held to show veteran appreciation.
At 11:00 a.m., planes flew over the demonstration in the Missing Man Formation. The flyover honors fallen service members, and is often demonstrated at funerals and memorial events.
More than 150 men and women took the Oath of Enlistment Friday morning at Dallas City Hall. Those men and women will enter all branches of service. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley led the recruits in the oath and encouraged past and current service members to rededicate themselves to the cause of freedom.
The parade honors all veterans, but this year focuses on veterans who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
View Tweets, Photos and Videos from the celebration:
Dallas Veterans Day Parade #Flyover #VeteransDay2017 @CityOfDallas pic.twitter.com/BvyyAiArbu – Jennifer S. Gates (@cmjsgates) November 10, 2017
We have overcome many obstacles as a nation yet we still face many challenges. We must show compassion and strive for unity. We must work together for the betterment of our city and our nation, not only for the citizens who are here now but for those who are not here yet. pic.twitter.com/YKAFRvUeW4 – Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) November 10, 2017
At City Hall Plaza celebrating our local veterans!#ThankYouForYourservice pic.twitter.com/gn7Rwo8FFf – City of Dallas Parks (@DallasParkRec) November 10, 2017
Color guard from #DallasISD’s WW Samuell High School leads massing of the colors at today’s Dallas #VeteransDay Parade. pic.twitter.com/aLWdDjoZ6B – Dallas ISD (@dallasschools) November 10, 2017
.@ArmyChiefStaff leads oath of enlistment. Thank you to our new military enlistees #DallasVetsDay pic.twitter.com/198JIWMtUw – Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) November 10, 2017
I turned the knob and the door cracked open, suddenly the all too familiar smell was all around me, and on me. As I finished opening the door, the smell of my 3rd son drew closer around me, holding to me tightly.
The next afternoon I turned the knob, and as I opened the door and held it, my Mother looked into my eyes and nodded, then my Niece did also, as they proceeded into the big room, moving to the chairs I had marked with my eyes.
The table was filled with gamblers, all holding the winning hand, including the nurse at the far end of the table; she knew her part by heart, and in fact was certain of an academy award, until she looked into the eyes she knew so well….
These people had lied to me since the day before, and evidently thought we were dumb as dirt. Never in my life had I ever imagined the day when the people I respected so much would instead prove to be as low as the most evil criminals.
I listened as each one at the table had their say, then, while slowly standing up, I looked from one, to the next in turn all around the table. I explained the difference in “no activity” with a swollen head, and a “brain stem test”, then I looked into each set of eyes, and said NO ONE WILL BE TURNING MY SON’S VENTILATOR OFF TODAY, NOR EVER.
My Brother called me 3 years ago, and told me to hurry. When I got to the place, he met me at the door, and we went to the young Lady’s room.
Nurses were all standing around staring at the relative, as my Brother asked my opinion. I said heroin???? NO WAY, maybe PCP, but you remember when I was in the hospital and went out of my head 2 different times???? He said that’s why I called you.
When I said, “considering how hard she fell when she was blind-sided, I would have to believe bone marrow was in her system and going to her brain, but apparently she didn’t break nothing”. The nurses looked like I had slapped them.
These people failed to X-Ray this young Lady, missed a broken hip, then left the illicit drugs misdiagnosis on her record to cover their incompetence. The sad part of this is that she had been in the hospital for nearly 3 full days.
My Little Brother was the victim of a poorly trained employee at Insurance Market Place. We got their attention by contacting Our Elected Officials.
However, while filing an appeal, I had to rush My Brother to the ER. Later he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, but sent home without a Doctor doing anything.
To say he was in agony, is like saying a blow torch is warm, because Our Circle on Google had told me so. After over a month, we won his appeal, and he was checked into Parkland Hospital, where he stayed for 4 days then released.
All this time He has been losing weight, and still hurting badly almost all the time.
This week I went with him to his appointments, before Chemo, and for whatever reason, between our questions, it fell out of these people’s mouth that he hasn’t been getting any real treatment due to the drugs in his system.
I believe my Brother got their attention by telling them between Parkland Hospital and Insurance Market Place, they were responsible for him losing nearly 40 lbs and everything else, plus knowing the pain he was in, yet not prescribing him anything.
But now I don’t mind telling everyone that I got my Brother the medicine for pain. I am unable to take anything like this and muscle relaxers, so I didn’t know….
I’m sorry Little Brother, and I have to admit this to all of you, I knew how he was hurting, and I knew his stress and depression first hand, yet I made him even more miserable because I kept thinking I was going to go wake him up one day and he wasn’t going to wake up.
SO, this is for all of you….
First, I checked if anything had turned up on the VA Hospital Drug Thefts, and oddly enough nothing has been posted since roughly the end of May.
BUT, I did come across some very interesting facts:
Doctors and Nurses are more likely than other occupations to form a substance addiction.
Studies suggest that Medical Professionals are more likely to misuse prescription drugs than their patients.
Substance Abuse is grossly unreported in medical community by an estimated 50% and most likely much higher.
*15% of all physicians and nurses will experience substance abuse issues, although this number could quiet possibly be as much as 50% higher
**20% of all physicians and nurses will experience substance abuse issues, although this number could quiet possibly be more than 50% higher