House Republicans are asking President Obama to fire Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta following a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of federal employees
Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour should also be fired for her inability to keep safe that data, which one former senior intelligence official described as “a gold mine for a foreign intelligence service,” House Committee Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said in a June 26 letter to Mr. Obama.
An additional 17 Republicans signed the letter alongside Mr. Chaffetz, including Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona; Rep. Tim Walberg, Michigan; Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio; Rep. John Duncan, Tennessee; Rep. John Duncan, Tennessee; Rep. Blake Farenthold, Texas; and Rep. William Hurd, Texas.
As many as 4.2 million current and former federal personnel might have had their most sensitive data stolen in a breach of the federal government’s human resources agency computers.
Earlier this week, a cybersecurity threat intelligence firm reported that it found the login and password information of federal employees littered across the Internet. That firm, Recorded Future, said dozens of agencies were vulnerable to the same kind of hack that befell the Office of Personnel Management.
The data breach is especially alarming to lawmakers because the hackers may have been able to obtain information on security clearances dating as far back as 1985, the letter said.
Ms. Archuleta and her leadership team allowed serious vulnerabilities to the OPM network and cybersecurity posture to go uncorrected for eight years, despite urgent warnings from the office’s inspector general, the letter stated.
“There is no excuse for failing to encrypt sensitive data at rest, require multi-factor authentication for remote access to critical systems, and properly segment data within the network, among other things that OPM failed to do,” the letter said. “These are basic cybersecurity best practices that should have been addressed years ago. These catastrophic failures to implement relatively routine countermeasures allowed our adversaries to land a ‘significant blow’ to America’s human intelligence programs.”
Ms. Archuleta said during a congressional hearing earlier this week that she took seriously the inspector general audits, which were conducted before she took over as director in May 2013.
“We don’t believe you,” Mr. Chaffetz said, cutting her off in mid-sentence. “I think you’re part of the problem. I think if we want different results, we’re going to have to have different people.”