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Obama Administration Deflects Blame in OPM Breach

06-26-2015
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Obama administration officials are deflecting blame for a massive breach of federal government computers that has seriously damaged national security.

It being called the worst hack of the U.S. government in history. Hackers looted federal government personnel records, affecting as many as 32 million current and former federal employees.

After a grilling this week on Capitol Hill of officials from the Office of Personnel Management, one lawmaker called the lack of cybersecurity at OPM "jaw dropping."

"[In] 1963, I wasn't even born yet and that is the system we're operating on, when technology is changing, moment by moment, minute by minute," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said.

In early June, when White House officials first admitted OPM had been hacked, they said Chinese hackers had stolen the personal information of up to 4 million current and former federal employees.

It's now been revealed that the damage is far greater.

Hackers appear to have made off with millions of security-clearance background check files, so-called "adjudication information," sensitive facts collected by U.S. investigators about government employees and contractors that includes deeply personal information such as marital problems, drug and alcohol or gambling problems, even information about a person's sex life.

That means the Chinese or another foreign entity now has the tools to find U.S. officials who have access to classified documents and blackmail them. One source told the Daily Beast this is worse than the leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"So, I want to understand why OPM isn't using encryption?" Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., asked OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.

"I wish all our systems were able to be fitted with the encryption tools, but we have an older legacy system," Archuleta replied.

Still, she insisted encryption would not have prevented this incident.

"If there is anyone to blame, it is the perpetrators…they're concentrated, very well organized, focused, aggressive," Archuleta said.

Some Republicans say Archuleta cannot be trusted to fix this problem and she needs to be replaced.

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