The USAF and Lockheed Martin have lost over 100,000 records involving investigations into everything from fraud to workplace disputes.
According to DefenseOne, Lockheed Martin -the defense firm tasked with managing the database- noticed that the database hosting the files from the USAF inspector general and legislative liaison divisions became corrupted, wiping out data from 2004 to present day. The defense company -who is also the developer of the F-35 Lightning II- tried for two weeks to recover the information before notifying the US Air Force.
“We’ve kind of exhausted everything we can to recover within [the Air Force] and now we’re going to outside experts to see if they can help,” said USAF spokeswoman at the Pentagon Ann Stefanek.
While the USAF doesn’t suspect foul play, Stefanek says they are doing their “due diligence and checking out all avenues within the investigation to find out if there’s anything that we’re not aware of. Right now, we don’t have any indication of that.”
Some of the more worrying files lost that belong to the USAF Inspector General’s office include cases of fraud, waste and abuse. The system also included personal information, complaints and findings from other cases.
“When the system crashed, all those historical records were lost,” Stefanek said.
In addition, all data concerning current investigations has been lost and will delay investigations currently in progress.
“The Air Force is assessing the immediate impact of the data loss, but at this time we are experiencing significant delays in the processing of inspector general and congressional constituency inquiries,” the service said in a statement.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., says the lost database information “was intended to help the Air Force efficiently process and make decisions about serious issues like violations of law and policy, allegations or reprisal against whistleblowers, Freedom of Information Act requests, and Congressional inquiries.” He also criticized the USAF for informing congress one business week after the incident came to the USAF’s attention.
“The five-sentence notification to Congress did not contain information that appeared to have the benefit of five days of working the issue,” Warner wrote.
Warner says that the loss of the information is cause for concern. As it could delay investigations on other hot-button issues as well, such as sexual assault.
“I am very concerned by any problems that could negatively impact case outcomes or that could exacerbate the already lengthy process for [inspector general] investigations to be concluded,” he wrote.
Lockheed Martin declined to comment on the matter.
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