OPM Head Unsure of Files It Maintains, How Many People’s Information Exposed

Office of Personnel Management Director (OPM) Katherine Archuleta was unsure of how many employees and retirees’ information her agency oversees and might have been breached in testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

Archuleta was asked by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) how many federal employees and retirees her agency has personally identifiable information for. She responded, “We have 2.7 individuals who are full-time employees, and 2.4 who are –” before Chaffetz cut her off to say, “No, I asked you — you have personal, identifiable information for how many employees and retirees?”

Archuleta continued, “The number I just gave you includes the number of employees and retirees, and personally identifiable information within those files depends on whether they’ve had a background investigation or whether their personnel file –” Chaffetz again cut in, asking, “How many records do you have?”

Archuleta then told Chaffetz she will ask someone else, he told Archuleta that as the head of the agency, she should know. He then read a letter she wrote the Appropriations chairs in the House and the Senate that said her agency had the personal, identifiable information for 32 million federal employees and retirees. Chaffetz then asked, “Are you here to tell me that that information is all safe or is it potentially 32 million records that are at play here?”

She answered, “As I mentioned to you earlier in my testimony, Mr. Chairman, we’re reviewing the number, and the scope of the breach and the impact to all of the records.” Chaffetz asked, “So, it could be as high as 32 million? Is that right?” He was told that Archuleta “will not give a number that is not completely accurate.”

Chaffetz continued to press the issue, stating he was only asking for a range, not an exact number and wondering if 32 million people’s information could be exposed. “I’m not going to give you a number that I am not sure of.”

Chaffetz then asked, “And when they fill out the SF86, that would include other people that identified within those forms, correct?” Archuleta answered that this was correct. He then asked if there was an average number of people who are identified on an SF86, to which he was told that there is no average that Archuleta knows of.

The questioning concluded with Chaffetz asking, “When you asked for $32 million more in your budget request, it was because you had 32 million federal employees identified, and former employees, correct?” Archuleta answered, “That — the number of employees that we have, yes, we’re asking for support for our cybersecurity –“.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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