Rumors that the assault on the Office of Personnel Management by Chinese hackers was even bigger than initially reported seem vindicated by Roll Call’s report that some congressional staffers have received notices their data was compromised as well:
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., told CQ Roll Call Tuesday that his press secretary, George Burke, who has never worked for the executive branch, received a notice from the OPM saying his personal identifiable information may have been compromised. Connolly said he spoke with someone in the office of the House Chief Administrative Officer, and it appeared that congressional staffers who had a break in their service, activating their retirement status, were affected by the breach.
“What it seems to be is: If you worked up here for ‘x’ number of years and you terminate your employment and you leave government service, they give a final report, which may turn out not to be final, about your retirement status to OPM,” Connolly said after attending the classified briefing on the breach for members of the House.
“I am an example of a former, but now a current employee who could have been compromised,” Connolly said, noting his years as a Senate staffer. “So when they say ‘former employees,’ what they really mean is somebody who could have interrupted service but is now a current employee.”
An OPM spokesperson said “the agency does not have an estimate for the number of legislative employees affected.” That’s not surprising, since they don’t seem to have an estimate for anything. The Obama Administration was caught with its pants down by Cyber Pearl Harbor, and they’re nowhere near getting their belt buckle refastened yet.
Roll Call notes that the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Office has been asking the OPM for details, but no additional information was forthcoming. House and Senate staffers were previously told by OPM that only those with executive branch experience were at risk from the hack. Not until today’s House Oversight Committee hearings did the OPM director officially acknowledge that workers from all three branches of government were affected by the data breach.