The U.S. Air Force is investigating the circumstances surrounding a Cape Girardeau recruiter who allegedly discarded sensitive documents belonging to potential recruits, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards and high school diplomas.
The Air Force's public affairs division in San Antonio issued a statement Wednesday saying that a new recruiter to the Cape Girardeau Air Force recruiting office at 3019 William St. was cleaning out old files when he inadvertently threw a "limited amount" of identifying information into a Dumpster behind the building.
"The Air Force is actively working with the disposal company involved ... to recover any improperly released information," the release said. "We take the protection of Privacy Act information seriously and will be contacting those individuals whose Privacy Act information was or may have been inadvertently released."
The release said the situation was a deviation from Air Force regulations.
"This is an isolated incident," said Christa D'Andrea, an Air Force spokeswoman. "The last known incident like this was in 2006 in California. "We provide yearly training to Air Force recruiters on the Privacy Act, and recruiters get additional training. Unfortunately, this still happened."
The documents are being collected and returned to their owners, D'Andrea said.
"Recovery of the documents is our top priority. We will make every possible attempt to contact the owners of the information and return the documents to them."
The Air Force is still investigating, she said. The recruiter, who was not identified, would be reprimanded if wrongdoing is determined, she said.
3019 William St., Cape Girardeau, MO