Under fire for data breach Obama personnel chief steps down

first_imgIn the OPM case, the data stolen by hackers included criminal, financial, health, employment and residency histories, as well as information about families and acquaintances. The second, larger attack affected not only applicants for security clearances but also nearly 2 million of their spouses, housemates and others.Numerous U.S. lawmakers who have been briefed by federal investigators have said emphatically that China was responsible, and even National Intelligence Director James Clapper has said publicly that China is the “leading suspect.”Yet even as Archuleta stepped down, the White House declined to point the finger at Beijing, reflecting the diplomatic sensitivities involved in such an accusation against a global economic superpower. Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator, Michael Daniel, said cryptically, “Just because we’re not doing public attribution does not mean that we’re not taking steps to deal with the matter.”U.S. officials have said the hackers do not appear to have used the data since the theft. The White House said it has stepped up cybersecurity efforts, and in early June government employees received notice that OPM would offer credit-monitoring services and identity-theft insurance to those affected. On Thursday, Archuleta had rebuffed demands that she resign, declaring she was “committed to the work that I am doing.” But her continued tenure at the agency grew untenable as calls from lawmakers — including members of Obama’s own party — mushroomed. On Friday morning, she came to the White House to personally submit her resignation to Obama.He named Beth Cobert, currently deputy director for management at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, to step in as acting director at OPM.“It’s quite clear that new leadership, with a set of skills and experiences that are unique to the urgent challenges that OPM faces, are badly needed,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.Archuleta’s resignation came one day after the administration disclosed that the number of people affected by the federal data breach was far greater than previously known. In addition to 4.2 million people whose records were stolen in an initial hack first revealed earlier this year, more than 21.5 million had their Social Security numbers and other sensitive information stolen in a second hack, believed to be the biggest in U.S. history.Archuleta offered her resignation “of her own volition” and wasn’t forced out, Earnest said. At the same time, he conceded that Americans affected by the breach are still “due additional information” from the agency about what happened and how to protect themselves. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories FILE – In this June 25, 2015, file photo, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) director Katherine Archuleta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Obama administration says hackers stole Social Security numbers from more than 21 million people and took other sensitive information when government computer systems were compromised. The number affected by the breach is higher than the 14 million figure that investigators gave The Associated Press in June. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)last_img read more