Call for heads to roll in mass US hacking
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”.
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.