TSA discloses loss of hard drive, data

WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration has lost a computer hard drive containing Social Security numbers, bank data and payroll information for about 100,000 employee records.

Authorities realized Thursday the hard drive was missing from a controlled area at TSA headquarters. TSA Administrator Kip Hawley sent a letter to employees yesterday apologizing for the lost data and promising to pay for one year of credit monitoring services.

The agency said it did not know whether the device was still within headquarters or was stolen. In a statement released last night, the agency said the external - or portable - hard drive contained information on employees who worked for the Homeland Security agency from January 2002 until August 2005.

- AP

Document details FBI's Posada case

MIAMI - Authorities building an immigration case against anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles have filed an FBI document with the court that provides new details about Posada's purported links to a wave of 1997 bombings in Havana.

The document, based on interviews conducted in the late 1990s with confidential sources, says Posada frequently met with two men who ran a Guatemalan utility company and indicates the bombings may have been planned there.

A source told the FBI that a company employee discovered bottles labeled "high-powered explosives" in a closet. With them was a note in Spanish: "The tyrant has to be eliminated, regardless of how many others are killed."

The document was filed as part of the immigration case against Posada, 79, a former CIA operative accused of plotting the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner.

- AP

Want a U.S. visa? Show your fingers

WASHINGTON - Most foreigners wanting to come to the United States will soon have to bare all - their fingers, that is - when applying for U.S. visas, the State Department said yesterday.

Instead of scanning the prints of just two fingers of visa applicants, as is now the case, U.S. embassies and consulates are beginning to require scans of all 10 digits to better screen out undesirables, it said.

"The department is instituting the 10 fingerscan standard to improve our ability to detect and thwart persons ineligible for visas by raising the accuracy rate in matching fingerscans," it said in a notice published in yesterday's Federal Register.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Deputy National Security Adviser J.D. Crouch, who helped spearhead the recent policy review that led President Bush to send more U.S. troops to Iraq, announced yesterday that he would step down early next month.

Former President Bill Clinton said yesterday that disasters such as worldwide famine and an obesity epidemic could destroy the U.S. health-care system unless politicians begin to look ahead and cooperate.