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Air Force officer’s unsecured backup drive of personnel files contained ‘blueprint’ to blackmail

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Thousands of U.S. Air Force documents, including highly sensitive personnel files on high-ranking officers, were left exposed on an unsecured backup drive.

The files — including completed applications for national security clearance for two four-star generals — could have been accessed by anyone because the backup drive was connected to the internet without password protection, reported ZDNet.

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The website reviewed the unprotected files and found they contained the names, addresses, ranks and Social Security numbers of more than 4,000 officers, and another file lists the security clearance levels for hundreds of officers.

The unprotected drive belongs to a lieutenant colonel, but ZDNet did not publish that officer’s name.

A Mackeeper security researcher notified the drive’s owner last week, and the data was secured.

The drive contained completed national security clearance forms filled out by two generals who each recently held top U.S. military and NATO positions — which national security experts told the website could be described as “holy grail” information for foreign spies.

Both generals, who have not been named, are now retired.

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The clearance forms asks applicants to disclose past arrests, drug and alcohol issues, or mental health concerns, in addition to other potentially embarrassing personal information.

The unsecured data — which also included a list of officers under investigation for unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing — offer a “blueprint” for blackmail, according to one former government official.

It’s not clear how long the backup drive was active or whether anyone besides the security researchers accessed the documents it contained.

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A Department of Defense subcontractor, Potomac, was the source of another data disclosure last year, when the personnel files of physical and mental health support staff were accidentally leaked.


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This billionaire Republican governor has been sued dozens of times for millions in unpaid bills

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Raymond Dye had a buildup of blood behind his left eye that prevented him from seeing. David Polk had an abnormal heartbeat, and his wife had high cholesterol. Roger Wriston’s wife had a bad back.

All the men had worked for a collection of coal companies owned by Gov. Jim Justice and his family, which had pledged to provide health insurance after the miners retired. Last year, though, the retirees learned that those firms had stopped paying their premiums. And as a result, their coverage had been terminated. Polk skipped doctor appointments.

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2020 Election

‘Recipe for disaster’: NC doctor slams Trump’s hopes for a packed GOP convention as ‘an incredibly bad idea’

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A North Carolina strongly cautioned his state's governor from caving in to President Donald Trump's wishes for a packed Republican National Convention.

The president has threatened to move the RNC this summer from Charlotte if Gov. Roy Cooper did not ease coronavirus restrictions to allow for a full-scale event, but a local physician told WCNC-TV that Trump's plan was unreasonable.

"What do we know about infections?" said Dr. Jeffrey Galvin, of the Vitality Medical Wellness group. "Infection requires two things, exposure plus time."

Trump wants to pack 20,000 Republicans, journalists and others into Spectrum Center in August, but Galvin said infected people shed small amounts of the virus every time they breathe.

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Trump Tower’s profits magically grew by $3 million in 2010 — which helped them borrow another $73 million

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A decade ago, loan filings showed Trump Tower in New York City had a reported profit of about $13.3 million. But when the tower refinanced its debt soon after, the profits for the same year — 2010 — somehow appeared higher. A new lender listed the profits as $16.1 million, or 21% more than they had been recorded previously.

The next year’s earnings for the building also “improved” between the two filings. Profits for 2011 were listed as 12% higher under the new loan than the old, according to reports by loan servicers and data provider Trepp.

ProPublica uncovered the Trump Tower discrepancies by examining publicly available data for mortgages that are packaged into securities known as commercial mortgage-backed securities, comparing the same years in reports for different CMBS. If a bank had held onto the loan, instead of selling it to investors, such information would have been kept private. No evidence has emerged that the Trump Organization was involved in changing the profit figures.

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