Call for heads to roll in mass US hack­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

THE head of the US Gov­ern­ment’s per­son­nel of­fice is re­ject­ing bi­par­ti­san calls for her res­ig­na­tion fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions that hack­ers stole the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of more than 21 mil­lion peo­ple on her watch.

Di­rec­tor of the fed­eral Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment, Kather­ine Archuleta, said she has no plans to step down and was com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing her work.

The White House, which had pre­vi­ously said Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was con­fi­dent in Ms Archuleta’s lead­er­ship, said there was no change in its po­si­tion.

The es­ca­lat­ing calls for Ms Archuleta to be re­placed came as the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­closed yesterday that the num­ber of peo­ple af­fected by the fed­eral breach – be­lieved to be the big­gest in US history – was far higher than pre­vi­ously re­ported.

Hack­ers down­loaded so­cial se­cu­rity num­bers, health his­to­ries and other highly sen­si­tive data.

The breach af­fected more than five times the 4.2 mil­lion peo­ple the Gov­ern­ment first dis­closed this year. Since then, the ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­knowl­edged a sec­ond, re­lated breach of sys­tems hous­ing pri­vate data that in­di­vid­u­als sub­mit dur­ing back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tions to ob­tain se­cu­rity clear­ances.

Although the Gov­ern­ment de­clined to name the hack­ers, of­fi­cials said the same party was re­spon­si­ble for both hacks.

Nu­mer­ous US politi­cians who had been briefed on the fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion had pointed the fin­ger at China.

Word that the breach was far more se­vere than pre- vi­ously ac­knowl­edged drew in­dig­na­tion from mem­bers of Congress who said the ad­min­is­tra­tion had not done enough to pro­tect per­sonal data in their sys­tems, as well as calls for Ms Archuleta and her top deputies to re­sign.

House Repub­li­can lead­ers – Speaker John Boehner, Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise – called for Ms Archuleta’s res­ig­na­tion, and Mr Boehner said the Pres­i­dent must “take a strong stand against in­com­pe­tence”.

Even

some

mem­bers

of Mr Obama’s own party, usu­ally re­luc­tant to crit­i­cise the ad­min­is­tra­tion, joined the call for Ms Archuleta to go.

Demo­cratic Sen­a­tor Mark Warner de­cried Ms Archuleta for a “slow and un­even re­sponse” that he said had un­der­mined con­fi­dence in her abil­i­ties.

“It is time for her to step down, and I strongly urge the ad­min­is­tra­tion to choose new man­age­ment with proven abil­i­ties to ad­dress a cri­sis of this mag­ni­tude with an ap­pro­pri­ate sense of ur­gency and ac­count­abil­ity,” Mr Warner said.

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