When a laptop gets lost or stolen, the value of the data lost is most likely to be far greater than the hardware itself. A laptop would cost what? a thousand dollars? But the information held inside: priceless.
Among the items of information included for some or all of these [IBM] employees were name, address, US social security number, e-mail address, and country where stationed.
Now imagine what crooks could do with that information.
Just like a CIA NOC list getting out in the open, eh?