$50,000 Reward Offered for Missing Government Hard Drive

by | Jul 7, 2009 10:20 AM ET

The National Archives in Washington, D.C.

© iStockphoto.com/Cebolla4

Yes, you read that right. The National Archives and Records Administration has lost a hard drive containing backup tapes from the Executive Office of the President from the Clinton Administration. There are names and Social Security numbers from many people on it, which poses a risk of identity theft. It's a Western Digital 2TB My Book external hard drive, and there's a 50-grand reward for it if you figure out where it is.

According to the agency's press release, the National Archives Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service are trying to find the wayward drive. In fact, they don't know that it was actually stolen -- it may be simply misplaced. And if it has been stolen, they don't believe that it was for the personal information on it.

OK, that's one thing, but as Steven Walling at ReadWriteEnterprise points out, it's not the only item that the National Archives and Records Administration can't find these days. An Associated Press report said that there are many historical documents that have gone walking -- some have been stolen, others are misplaced. Like what, you ask? Like Andrew Jackson's signature. And some telegraphs from Abraham Lincoln. The patent from the Wright Brothers' flying machine and the maps from the first atomic bomb missions are all nowhere to be found. You can see a complete list of missing items on the National Archives Web site.

For more on storage technology and identity theft, take a look at these articles:

How Hard Disks Work

How to Back Up a Hard Drive

How Identity Theft Works

How to Protect Against Identity Theft

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