The geniuses at the Internal Revenue Service gave sensitive data on over a million taxpayers to a printing contractor wiout checking the bona fides of any of the contractor's employees, says the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The news comes from a report dated last month but just released to the public. This and several similar screw-ups "exposes taxpayers to increased risk of fraud and identity theft."
The report reveals a number of interesting tidbits, such as the fact that, in adddition to IRS personnel, 14,000 contractors have "staff-like" access to Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information. Such protected data includes "any information under the IRS's authority that the loss, misuse, unauthorized access, or modification of could adversely affect the national interest, the conduct of IRS programs, or the privacy to which individuals are entitled under law." To gain that access, contractors have to submit to background checks.
One wonders how 14,000 contractors, plus actual IRS employees, can be expected to keep that stuff close to their vests, but the point is moot, since the IRS didn't follow its own rules, anyway.