The computer drives containing sensitive information in a lawsuit against the CIA were taken from an office on the second floor of Smith Hall on the University of Washington campus, police say.
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The computer drives containing sensitive information in a lawsuit against the CIA were taken from an office on the second floor of Smith Hall on the University of Washington campus, police say.
Credit: Flickr photo/Cody Logan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Computer Drives With Info For CIA Lawsuit Stolen At UW

Computer hardware holding sensitive information being used in a lawsuit against the CIA has been stolen, according to the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights.

Director Angelina Godoy’s desktop computer and an external hard drive are believed to have been stolen sometime between Oct. 14 and Oct. 18, UW Police Maj. Steve Rittereiser said Wednesday.

He said there was no sign of forced entry into the office on the second floor of Smith Hall.

The center’s lawsuit alleges that the CIA is illegally withholding information about an El Salvador army officer who is suspected of human rights violations during that Central American country’s civil war in the 1980s.

Center officials say they have backup copies of the information on the computer drives, but they're concerned because the drives had about 90 percent of the information being used in the lawsuit, including sensitive details about personal testimonies and pending investigations.

While the theft could have been a common crime, they say they're concerned that the break-in might be retaliation for their work.

Rittereiser said the computer gear was discovered missing Oct. 18. He said campus police would look for any video from cameras in the area.

Listen to The Record’s interview earlier this month with Godoy and UW law student Mina Manuchehri, a lead researcher at the center, about the lawsuit.

Photo: “Smith Hall” by Cody Logan on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)