Tags: security breach | office personal management | buck passing | no leadership

GOP Slams OPM Head on Massive Data Breach as 'World-class Buck-Passing'

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 06:31 PM

Top Republicans on Wednesday slammed the head of the Office of Personnel Management for the security breach that has now been estimated to have affected as many as 32 million federal government workers, according to newly released documents.

"Federal workers and their families deserve answers on both the scope of the breach and the types of personal information compromised," said Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, at the outset of his panel's hearing on the breach. "Because of these many outstanding questions, we still don’t understand the extent to which this breach threatens our national security.

"We have to do a better job of anticipating our adversaries and protecting information from unnecessary exposure," Chaffetz said.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta had told legislators on Tuesday that as many as 18 million unique Social Security numbers had been stolen by hackers. That was up from the four million the government initially reported.

But on Wednesday, Chaffetz said that number may have nearly doubled to 32 million. The new number Chaffetz cited comes from the agency’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal, in which it notes that OPM stores more personally identifiable information than any other agency. It includes “banking information for more than 2 million annuitants and background investigations for more than 30 million people,” according to documents Chaffetz cited.

The FBI has been investigating the hack, which multiple officials believe was conducted by the Chinese.

Archuleta told a Senate hearing that old computer networks were to blame for the cyber attacks that exposed private information on nearly every federal employee and personal histories of millions with security clearances.

"If there is anyone to blame, it's the perpetrators," she said.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell characterized the attack Wednesday as "one of the worst breaches in U.S. history.

"To call this alarming would be quite an understatement," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

He blasted Archuleta's testimony as "world-class buck-passing.

"A complete lack of accountability and urgency," McConnell said. "The tired and predictable excuse that the absence of leadership can be solved by throwing a few more dollars at a problem.

"Congress can certainly look at the funding angle," McConnell added. "I know we will. But as we learned yesterday, it wasn't just the old stuff that was breached – it was the new stuff too.

"More money isn't going to solve a management problem either," he added. "And let's be honest: this appears primarily to be a management problem."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Top Republicans on Wednesday slammed the head of the Office of Personnel Management for the security breach that has now been estimated to have affected as many as 18 million federal government workers. Federal workers and their families deserve answers on both the scope...
security breach, office personal management, buck passing, no leadership
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2015-31-24
Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 06:31 PM
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