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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

 4:36 PM 

Column: Johnson wades into OPM hacking probe

This is an excerpt from Nicole Duran's weekly DC Wrap column. Sign up to get the full column in your inbox each week.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will try to get answers Thursday about two massive hacks on the Office of Personnel Management's databases.

In announcing the Senate hearing, the Oshkosh Republican said the Obama administration and OPM haven't responded thoroughly or quickly enough to the attacks that date back to at least December. The hackings were made public earlier this month, after the first intrusion was detected by OPM in April.

"The Obama administration must better protect the data that Americans entrust to it," Johnson stated. "Notifying those whose data was stolen is only a small, first step. The administration must immediately implement better protection for all data it keeps. It must determine who did this and exactly what was stolen. And it must conduct a swift and proper response against the perpetrators."

OPM chief Katherine Archuleta didn't give Chairman Ron Johnson's House counterpart, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a firm number about how many current, former and potential federal employees had their information compromised when his panel grilled her last week. But anonymous government officials on Monday said FBI Director James Comey told senators behind closed doors that 18 million Americans were affected.

To date, OPM has only revealed that the sensitive information of 4.2 million federal workers is now in the hands of allegedly Chinese hackers.

Testifying alongside Archuleta on Thursday morning before Johnson's panel will be the government's first-ever chief information officer, Tony Scott; Homeland Security Department cyber official Andy Ozment; and OPM Inspector General Patrick McFarland.

McFarland didn't testify last week before the House oversight panel. The House committee is holding a second hearing on the matter Wednesday.

And a Senate Appropriations panel is delving into the issue. Also last week, the House Financial Services subcommittee led by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, examined similar malicious cyberattacks on the financial sector.

Read Duran's column for more on this and other DC issues


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