National Security and Foreign Policy
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Setting up a clash between counter-terrorism priorities and constitutional protection against unwarranted intrusion, three top federal law enforcement officials urged Congress and Silicon Valley to provide government agencies special access to encrypted cellphones and other Internet devices.
The pitch Wednesday came amid renewed concern about American vulnerabilities as a cascading series of coincidental computer malfunctions briefly grounded United Airlines aircraft and brought the New York Stock Exchange and other high-profile digital networks to a halt.
The Islamic State terror group is increasingly using encrypted communications to recruit troubled Americans and urge them to carry out attacks, FBI Director James Comey is expected to tell Congress on Wednesday.
Comey’s testimony is the latest effort by the Obama administration to pressure Silicon Valley companies to enable law enforcement agencies to continue monitoring communications over devices that are increasingly equipped with high-level encryption.
Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta. ( Christopher Dilts / Obama for America)
Bipartisan calls are growing on Capitol Hill for the federal personnel director to step down as lawmakers say they’re getting few answers to their questions about the hack of the personnel data of every federal worker.
Katherine Archuleta, left, and Andy Ozment, assistant secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, National Program Preparedness Directorate, Homeland Security Department, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.
Cliff Owen/Associated Press
Millions of government employee records apparently stolen by Chinese hackers were not encrypted, and software designed to block known computer breaches has not been installed to protect most of the files, officials said Tuesday.
Another key cybersecurity voice in Congress is calling for Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta to step down in the wake of the mega breach at her agency that has rocked the government.
Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, on Wednesday joined the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers looking for Archuleta’s dismissal.
Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, appeared before the House oversight committee Tuesday to discuss a security breach at the agency believed to have affected the personal data of millions of current and former federal employees. It did not go well for her.
House oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz told the director of the office that manages federal employees that she has “completely and utterly failed” in a Tuesday hearing and later called on her to resign.
The hearing on the recent discovered hacking into the Office of Personnel Management featured bipartisan condemnations of OPM director Katherine Archuleta and calls for reform.
“I’m looking here today for a few good people to come forward, accept responsibility, and resign for the good of the nation,” Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu from California said.
The director of the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) entered the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee session ready to convince members that her agency was “driving continued progress on IT modernization.”
But the packed Rayburn House Office Building chamber soon became a boxing ring, with all the punches going in one direction — Katherine Archuleta getting hit from the right and the left.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Tuesday urged officials from the Office of Personnel Management to resign following the devastating cyberattack that has exposed millions of people’s sensitive information.
“I’m looking here today for a few good people to step forward accept responsibility and resign for the good of the nation,” he said during a Tuesday morning House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta and OPM Chief Information Officer testified before the panel.