Veterans center employee may have records

2014-04-09T10:54:00Z 2014-04-09T17:30:05Z Veterans center employee may have recordsBy Perry Backus Ravalli Republic The Billings Gazette
April 09, 2014 10:54 am  • 

HAMILTON — A former Valley Veterans Service Center employee charged with making threats against President Barack Obama removed virtually every file from the center before his arrest last week.

Dan Rachell, 43, of Darby, also attempted to wipe the computers clean on the day the nonprofit’s board temporarily closed the operation, said Valley Veterans Service Center board chair Bill Jette.

“He tried to the wipe the computer, but it didn’t work,” Jette said Wednesday. “There were still a number of names in the computer’s recycle bin. We were able to retrieve some names, but not all.”

Rachell told the Ravalli Republic on the day the center closed last month that he had been advised by a Veterans Affairs officer to retrieve the files of all veterans who had signed over the power of attorney to him, for privacy reasons.

Rachell also said he planned to delete computer files with people’s names in order to protect their privacy.

Rachell was arrested last week following a Secret Service investigation into accusations that the Gulf War veteran made threats against the president and his family.

The center has since accepted his resignation letter.

With Rachell still in custody, Jette said the center isn’t certain how it will go about regaining the missing files.

The files include a variety of personal information, including medical records.

Jette hopes the center will receive some information soon on what it needs to do to move forward to retrieve the files.

“I think by next week we’ll have an answer on what our next move needs to be,” he said. “Once we get to that point, we’ll be able to move fast, but until then it’s a nightmare. I don’t blame veterans — for lack of a better term — being pissed off about this.”

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