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US Officials Mum About Fed’s Massive Breach

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Officials from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reportedly refused to attend a congressional briefing on Tuesday (Nov. 17) to examine how the agency handled the massive data breach that took place earlier this year.

As Reuters reported yesterday, OPM, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget all failed to appear at the closed-door meeting, according to the House Armed Services Committee, citing concerns that the meeting would be recorded.

“They refused to come,” Mac Thornberry, the committee’s Republican chairman, told reporters. “I’ve never had anybody complain about it before.”

“If they are unwilling to come and answer questions about the biggest national security data breach we’ve ever had, then that does not inspire greater confidence,” Thornberry added.

OPM has resided under an intense cloud of scrutiny following the cyberattacks that ultimately compromised the personal information of more than 21.5 million current and former federal workers and contractors, as well as nearly 5.6 million fingerprint files.

Just weeks ago, the agency announced it was hiring a new cyber and information technology advisor to help improve and scale its security measures.

“To help build on the federal government’s efforts to strengthen our cybersecurity posture and provide assistance to individuals impacted by the recent cyber intrusions, we must recruit and retain a variety of highly motivated and qualified individuals from this constantly evolving field,” Acting Director Beth Cobert said in a news release.

Despite its reported efforts to beef up its cyberdefenses and IT systems, new revelations surrounding the devastating attacks that took place earlier this year continue to cast doubt on the agency’s past claims on data security.

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