San Diego military veteran receives personal information about another veteran

Adam Noakes contact Team 10 about 'privacy breach'

SAN DIEGO - As a member of the Old Guard, Adam Noakes' job in the Army was to give veterans one final honor by performing ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

Now, Noakes -- a veteran himself -- believes he was disrespected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"The VA, the organization that is supposed to be looking out for me and taking care of me as a veteran, has completely violated my trust," said Noakes.

Noakes filed a disability claim in 2011 after complications from surgery.

"If there are problems that arise later on in life because of this disability, the VA will take care of it medically. If it gets worse and I have to cover that expense on my own, that could derail my entire family," said Noakes.

This month, he received a letter that the VA office in Huntington, W. Va., was handling the claim. Noakes said mixed in with the official paperwork was the personal and private information about another veteran.

"Another veteran's Social Security number, full name, full address, his telephone number, the disability that he was claiming, the dates he was in service," Noakes said was in the paperwork.

He wondered who had his information and what they were doing with it.

"It's also a huge breach of privacy. I know the disabilities that this person is claiming. I know what this person says is wrong with them," said Noakes.

Noakes told Team 10 he worried how many others were going through the same thing.

"I think it's an indication of how the VA is a complete mess right now," said Noakes.

The Center for Investigative Reporting recently reviewed the VA's performance, and the group's data reveals chronic errors at the VA committed in up to 1 in 3 cases.

"It's an organization that we want to believe in, it's an organization that we think should be good, but the system is completely overrun," said Noakes.

Noakes called the VA about his complaint and said the woman who answered the phone seemed alarmed. Noakes said the woman told him someone would contact him with instructions on how to destroy the paperwork, but that never happened.

Team 10 called the VA and told them about Noakes' problem.

The VA released this statement:

"We have investigated this matter and have collaborated with the VA regional office in Huntington, West Virginia to resolve this issue. The veteran has been contacted and we are taking all necessary steps to quickly remedy this single-incident privacy breach, and protect the veteran. There is no system-wide breach associated with this case. Thank you for concern of this veteran's case."

Joann Chambers
San Diego Regional Office Director


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