The Social Security numbers of 31 Army recipients of the Medal of Honor were accidentally publicly posted online by a Pentagon worker, officials said.
The information was removed from the Internet on Friday, after it was discovered by Doug Sterner of Alexandria, Va., a Bronze Star recipient who has spent 14 years researching medals, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"I was stunned -- I'm very upset this information got out there," said Sterner, 62, adding that the Social Security numbers appeared to have been available for some time
Erik Muendel, chief executive officer of Brightline Interactive, an Alexandria, Va., company that has compiled information on medal recipients for the Pentagon, said he is unsure as to how the information, which included the Social Security numbers, along with names, ranks, units and brief narratives of battlefield heroics in Iraq and Afghanistan, was put online. He said the company was supposed to receive only unclassified information.
"We are investigating exactly how it occurred," Muendel said. "We're getting a lot of heat over this."
Pentagon spokesman Maj. S. Justin Platt said some Social Security numbers were included when Brightline Interactive posted a link to an html-coded file used to create content for an interactive exhibit.
"We take this seriously and we took action immediately," Platt wrote in an e-mail.