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Break-In At SAIC Risks ID Theft

Haddad said surveillance cameras are in the building where the theft took place, but he did not know whether they caught the perpetrators on tape. He also did not know whether the information that was on the pilfered computers had been encrypted.

The stolen information included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers and records of financial transactions. It was stored in a database of past and present SAIC stockholders. SAIC is one of the nation's largest employee-owned companies, with workers each receiving the option to buy SAIC stock through an internal brokerage division known as Bull Inc.

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Haddad said the company has been trying through letters and e-mails to get in touch with everyone who has held company stock within the past decade, though he acknowledged that hasn't been easy since many have since left the company.

He said the company would take steps to ensure stockholder information is better protected in the future, but he declined to be specific.

The theft comes at a time when the company, which depends on the federal government for more than 80 percent of its $7 billion annual revenue, is already under scrutiny for its handling of several contracts.

Last week on Capitol Hill, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III testified that the company had botched an attempt to build software for the bureau's new Virtual Case File system. The $170 million upgrade was supposed to allow agents to sift through different cases electronically, but the FBI has said the new system is so outdated that it will probably be scrapped.

In San Antonio, SAIC is fighting the government over charges that the company padded its cost estimates on a $24 million Air Force contract. The case prompted the Air Force to issue an unusual alert to its contracting officials late last year, warning them that "the Department of Justice believes that SAIC is continuing to submit defective cost or pricing data in support of its pricing proposals."

SAIC has defended its work for the FBI and the Air Force. Haddad said that criticisms are inevitable for a such a large company and that there is no pattern of poor performance.

"I know people will try to jump to that kind of conclusion, but it's not an accurate reflection of how well this company is doing," he said. "This company has always prided itself on strong ethics."

The company's alumni list reads like a roll call of the nation's highest-profile former officials, including former defense secretaries William J. Perry and Melvin R. Laird and former CIA director John Deutch. Current directors of the company include former chief counterterrorism adviser Gen. Wayne A. Downing.

Founded by a group of scientists in 1969, SAIC has been growing in recent years at a rapid clip, right along with the government's appetite for high-tech services in information technology and national defense. The company named a new chief executive, Kenneth C. Dahlberg, in 2003, and he has set a goal of doubling the company's value within three to five years, Haddad said.

Philip Finnegan, director of corporate analysis with Teal Group Corp., said SAIC is trying to push into the top tier of contractors -- a rarefied club that includes Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. -- and that there are bound to be bumps along the way.

"It's inevitable that they'll face problems," he said.

Others are less sure that the company's recent difficulties don't add up to something more. "Is [the break-in] saying something about the quality of the company?" Kay said. "It's hard to say that. It's probably just random luck. But multiple occurrences of bad luck are often more than bad luck."

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