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SOCom says no military information on stolen laptops

TAMPA — Thousands of laptops stolen from a private contractor for U.S. Special Operations Command contained no sensitive information, SOCom officials said Tuesday.

"There was no security breach of military information or software," Maj. Denise Boyd said. "No military software had been loaded onto the computers."

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded the private company, iGov, a $450 million contract to supply mobile technology services linking special operations troops all over the world.

Tom Walsh, iGov's vice president of contracts, said Tuesday that the company is cooperating with authorities. He would not discuss the March 6 iGov break-in, which remained secret for months until Monday, when St. Petersburg Times reporters found it mentioned in a court document.

"It is an ongoing investigation," Walsh said. "At this point in time, we cannot issue any information or make any comment."

The heist occurred at the iGov facility at 9211 Palm River Road and was captured on surveillance camera, according to a search warrant filed by a Hillsborough County sheriff's detective. Up to seven people spent nine hours loading thousands of Panasonic Toughbook laptops and other equipment onto two semitrailer trucks.

Toughbooks are rugged, convertible personal computers that are designed to withstand extreme levels of dampness, dust, heat, cold or vibration — all elements typical of field conditions. They can cost more than $3,000 each.

The company is headquartered in McLean, Va., with locations in Springfield, Va., and near Tampa. CEO Patrick Neven, president Mike Tyrrell and senior vice president of corporate development Walter Hupalo have been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by two former business partners.

Craig London and James Hunt helped Neven and Hupalo found the company in 1996. When the company won its first lucrative Department of Defense contract in 2005, Neven hired Tyrrell as a consultant to help secure credit.

London and Hunt accused their former business partners of secretly conspiring to implement a stock options plan at an unfair price that substantially reduced their ownership interest and increased Neven's and Hupalo's share. In January 2007, Neven and Hupalo voted out London and Hunt and put Tyrrell on the board. He later became president.

A special litigation committee recommended that the lawsuit be dismissed. However, on March 11, the Court of Chancery in Delaware refused the litigation committee's recommendation.

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813) 909-4613 or nguyen@sptimes.com.

SOCom says no military information on stolen laptops 07/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:17pm]
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