REPRESENTATIVES LIEU AND RUSSELL WORKING ON LEGISLATION TO MOVE SECURITY CLEARANCE SYSTEM OUT OF OPM

July 9, 2015
Press Release

Washington - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA|33) and Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK|5) issued statements in response to the news that the personal information of 25 million Americans was stolen in the recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  As members of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee, Congressmen Lieu and Russell have participated in two full committee hearings on the OPM breach. Lieu and Russell have also both personally filled out and previously submitted SF-86 forms.

Congressman Lieu’s statement:

"The failure by the Office of Personnel Management to prevent hackers from stealing security clearance forms containing the most private information of 25 million Americans significantly imperils our national security.  Tragically, this cyber breach was likely preventable.  The Inspector General identified multiple vulnerabilities in OPM’s security clearance system--year after year--that OPM failed to address.  Even now, OPM still does not prioritize cybersecurity.  The IG testified just yesterday that OPM ‘has not historically, and still does not, prioritize IT security.’  The IG further testified that there is a ‘high risk’ of failure on a going forward basis at OPM.  The security clearance system was previously housed at the Department of Defense.  In hindsight, it was a mistake to move the security clearance system to OPM in 2004.  We need to correct that mistake.  Congressman Steve Russell and I are working on bipartisan legislation to move the security clearance database out of OPM into another agency that has a better grasp of cyber threats.  Steve and I have previously submitted SF-86 security clearance forms.  We personally understand the national security crisis this cyber breach has caused.  Every American affected by the OPM security clearance breach deserves and demands a new way forward in protecting their most private information and advancing the vital security interests of the United States."

Congressman Russell’s statement:

“It is bad enough that the dereliction displayed by OPM led to 25 million Americans’ records being compromised, but to continue to deflect responsibility and accountability is sad. In her testimony a few weeks ago, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said that they did not encrypt their files for fear they could be decrypted.  This is no excuse for a cyber breach, and is akin to gross negligence.  We have spent over a half a trillion dollars in information technology, and are effectively throwing it all away when we do not protect our assets.  OPM has proven they are not up to the task of safeguarding our information, a responsibility that allows for no error.  I look forward to working with Congressman Lieu on accountability and reform of this grave problem.”

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