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John McCain hammers OPM chief over data breach

John McCain hammers OPM chief over data breach

18 million people’s information reportedly hacked

Only in Washington D.C. would someone like Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta still have a job. In a hearing Thursday, Archueleta was questioned by an annoyed Sen. McCain over the agency’s massive data breach, now believed to be much worse than originally reported.

Fox News reported Thursday that the White House intentionally hid the extent of the OPM hack:

The Obama administration reportedly concealed the true amount of information compromised by a cyberattack on the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for several days after the initial disclosure of the hack, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the day after the White House admitted that hackers had breached personnel files, OPM publicly denied that the security clearance forms had been compromised despite receiving information to the contrary from the FBI. The administration did not say that security clearance forms had likely been accessed by the intruders until more than a week had passed.

A OPM spokeswoman denied the claims, telling the Journal the agency had been “completely consistent” in its reporting of the data breach.

Thursday, Senator McCain grilled Archuleta, attempting to get solid answer about the scope of the OPM data breach. Aruchuelta had few answers and often deferred to colleagues in other federal agencies.

On the Sony hacking by China, Archuleta had no answer. On the issue of prescription and other health related data breaches, Archuleta also had no answer. It’s almost like there’s a theme here…

The FBI alleges the number of people’s information that was part of the massive OPM hack is somewhere around 18.2 million, while OPM believes that number is closer to 4 million. Sen. McCain’s questioning revealed that not only did Archuleta not know why there was such a vast discrepancy in the numbers, but that she hasn’t consulted with the FBI on the matter.

Even worse is that OPM was warned of the potential for a data breach years ago but never bothered to act.

The Hill reported:

Administration officials have acknowledged two breaches at the OPM.

The first intrusion hit a worker personnel file database. Archuleta has maintained that hack compromised 4.2 million current and former federal employees’ data.

The second breach, announced a week after the first, targeted security clearance files and has become a point of contention between administration officials and lawmakers.

The intrusion has reportedly exposed up to 18 million people’s information contained in deeply personal background investigation files. That approximation was based on an FBI calculation made in early June.

Archuleta on Wednesday cautioned that this estimate was “a preliminary, unverified and approximate number of unique Social Security numbers in the background investigation data.” It does not include those people who had other types of sensitive data in background check files, she added.

McCain pressed Archuleta on her Wednesday statements.

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Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

I give this news report a “Thumbs Up.”

It is almost to the point where incompetence is a security feature. The system is so screwed up no one can figure it out.

They blamed the leaks on Snowden and Wikileaks. That was like blaming a video for Benghazi.

When is he going to Yerevan?

I heard somebody on FoxNews babbling about how OPM was still using a dinosaur program like COBOL so of course it is screwed up.

IIRC, COBOL was a good solid program upon which many later systems were based or at least derived from. In any event, it took Microsloth to make security holes into features. Unquestionably, Windows is the number one security sieve.

    RickCaird in reply to platypus. | June 25, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Agreed. The programming language had nothing to do with the break in. Anyone who thinks so is a technical midget.

Henry Hawkins | June 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Let’s not forget congress oversees agencies like OPM. Good for McCain, but it’s like all the endless congressional hearings – all GOP talk and nothing is done, nothing changes. Look at me, talking tough, video for my next campaign. Yay.

Congress should hire the Russians and the Chinese to tell us what is going on at the IRS (they destroyed evidence) and with the EPA and with the OPM and and with Eric Holder’s Fast & Furious coverup and with the known prevaricator Hillary Clinton. Then we’d get some answers.