Data About Presidential Copter Fleet Found in Iran

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Potentially sensitive engineering documents about one of two types of helicopters in the U.S. presidential fleet were found on a computer in Iran after they were inadvertently disclosed by an American defense industry executive last year, according to a private cybersecurity company.

The defense contractor, based in Bethesda, and the U.S. government were investigating the incident, said Keith Tagliaferri, director of operations at Tiversa, a Pennsylvania-based company that monitors data breaches linked to peer-to-peer file sharing. Tagliaferri declined yesterday to name the contractor or give any information about the identity of the Iranian computer on which the file was found Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the government was notified about the data disclosure last summer and fully investigated it. He stressed that the data were not classified and did not involve the V-3 helicopter used to carry the president.

Instead, the documents pertained to the VH-60, built by Sikorsky Aircraft, and it is used to carry White House staff and guests.

Tiversa said it noticed the potential disclosure of the file containing engineering and avionics data about the VH-60 several months ago. The company said it immediately notified the contractor.

The data breach did not involve the new generation of presidential helicopter being developed by Lockheed Martin.

That VH-71 helicopter project, which is more than 50 percent over its budget, was singled out by President Obama last week as an example of the Pentagon's procurement process "gone amok."

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