LOS ANGELES -- A group of Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers called today for a congressional investigation into NASA's response to the theft of a laptop computer that they say contained personal information and opened thousands of workers to the threat of identity theft.

The unencrypted NASA laptop was stolen Oct. 31 after it was left unattended in a parked car in Washington, D.C. NASA waited two weeks before informing its employees that personal information had been compromised and that they had been placed at risk of identity theft, according to Dan Stormer, an attorney for the JPL employees.

A call for comment to a JPL representative was not immediately returned.

Stormer, who has previously represented NASA employees in cases involving security issues, said he has written to Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and David Dreier, R- San Dimas, calling for an immediate congressional investigation into "NASA's behavior in this unsavory affair."

"To add insult to injury, NASA recklessly allows repeated releases of this private information," Stormer charged. "This is a scandal and a shame."

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, operates under a contract with NASA.


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