Missing computer adds to airport screeners' woes

Monday, 21 July 2003, 10:08 AM EST

Federal officials are quietly scouring the Washington, D.C., area for a stolen laptop computer loaded with vital information on dozens of airport baggage and passenger screeners that could be used to forge IDs.

The computer, property of the federal Transportation Security Administration, contains screeners' names and addresses, along with social security numbers, birthdates and other personal data. It was stolen from an agency staffer's car in late May, according to TSA spokeswoman Chris Rhatigan.

"We are working furiously to get it back and we've sent out a message to let all of our screeners know they need to safeguard their personal information," Rhatigan said.

There's no indication the theft was terrorism-related, but Washington police and transportation officials are worried that the highly sensitive contents could get into the wrong hands, she said.

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