Drumbeat grows louder for firings over hack

July 9, 2015
In The News

 

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.

 

In 19 months on the job, Archuleta has failed to request the appropriate funds or develop a cyberscurity model based on thwarting the biggest threats, Langevin said.

 

“I have seen no evidence Ms. Archuleta understands this central principle of cyber governance, and I am deeply concerned by her refusal to acknowledge her culpability in the breach,” he said in a statement. “I therefore believe that Ms. Archuleta should tender her resignation immediately.”

 

The tide has started to turn against Archuleta since a bruising, three-hour House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Lawmakers berated Archuleta for not heeding warnings about security flaws from the OPM inspector general.

 

Archuleta’s response — that the agency did have a long-term plan in place to address many decades of deficiencies — failed to satisfy many lawmakers. 

Langevin said it was too little, too late.

 

“While I appreciate that Ms. Archuleta inherited a difficult situation, her first budget request continued to reflect the status quo even as the [inspector general’s] warnings continued,” Langevin said.

 

Like Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who was the first to call for Archuleta’s firing, Langevin was also turned off by how Archuleta comported herself during the hearing.

 

“In testimony yesterday ... she refused to acknowledge the errors OPM has made or to apologize to the millions of affected Americans,” he said.

 

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has also called for Archuleta and OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour to step down.

 

Other top prominent cybersecurity policymakers, such as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) say they want to wait for more details to emerge.

 

While the administration initially said 4.2 million people were affected by the breach, many now expect that number to potentially grow to 14 million. Officials have acknowledged a second OPM breach that exposed millions of military and intelligence community security clearance files, but haven’t yet speculated how far-reaching it might be.

 

The White House on Wednesday stood by Archuleta, with spokesman Josh Earnest telling reporters the president has “confidence that she is the right person for the job.”