Office of the T(~:
All Employees Outside of the Washington Metropolitan Area
SUBJECT: Urgent Employee Notification
This memorandum is to inform all employees that an unauthorized third party has
accessed a USDA computer system affecting Washington D.C.-based employees and
contractors, and we are investigating the fi~_!l extent of this breach.
On Tuesday June 20, 2006, computer forensic examiners briefed me regarding an
unauthorized intrusion of the USDA information systems used to maintain and issue
identification cards for Washington, D.C., employees, contractors, and retirees. The
examiners verified that the systems had been accessed but could not confirm or deny
whether the database had been viewed or downloaded.
Upon being informed of the intrusion, USDA management requested its forensic
specialist, as well as the Office of Inspector General, to analyze the hard disk drives of
the impacted systems and determine the extent of the intrusion.
Until such time as a final determination can be made, USDA is taking every
precaution to safeguard its data systems and inform potentially impacted employees of
this event. Again, only Washington, D.C. area employees were impacted by this
Within the next week, all impacted employees will receive a letter notifying them of
what measures they can take to protect themselves against identity theft. USDA has
created a website that includes valuable information on steps to be taken if you suspect
personal identity theft. The website may be accessed at:
www.usda.gov/oo/beprepared/identity. People who believe they may be affected by
the data breach can go to www.firstgov.gov for more information.
We regret that this incident occurred. We are fully committed to ensuring the security
of USDA data as well as equipping our employees, retirees, and contractors with the
tools necessary to minimize the impact o