Chaffetz calls for OPM CIO's job

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, continues to press for information concerning the OPM breaches. (Jason Chaffetz/Flickr)

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The chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a letter Thursday calling for the immediate removal of Office of Personnel Management Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour for her office’s alleged misconduct in the wake of two catastrophic security breaches on OPM’s systems.

In his letter to acting OPM Director Beth Cobert, Jason Chaffetz reiterated his concerns from a June 26 letter to the president in which he said that he and his committee have ‘lost confidence’ in Seymour’s ability as a CIO. In that letter, the committee also called for Katherine Archuleta, the then-director of OPM, to step down, which she eventually did July 10 less than 24 hours after OPM announced more than 22 million current and former federal employees, and security clearance background check applicants had their perosnal information compromised in the hacks.

OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour (OPM)
OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour (OPM)

Now more than a month since that first letter, Chaffetz wrote, new revelations from OPM’s Office of the Inspector General have amplified his worries.

‘In a letter dated August 3, 2015, OPM’s IG notified me that on July 22, 2015 a memorandum was sent to you, and the letter advised me that ‘there have been situations where actions by the OCIO have interfered with, and thus hindered, the OIG’s work. Further, the OCIO has repeatedly provided the OIG with inaccurate or misleading information,” his letter to Cobert says.

Two weeks later, Chaffetz wonders why Seymour still has her ‘position of trust at the agency.’

‘Ms. Seymour has already failed the American people with herinability to secure OPM’s networks, and to learn that her office may beactively interfering with the work of the Inspector General only adds insult toinjury,” he wrote.

OPM press secretary Sam Schumach responded to Chaffetz letter, saying ‘since Ms. Seymour’s arrival at OPM in late 2013, OPM has undertaken an aggressive effort to upgrade the agency’s cybersecurity posture, adding numerous tools and capabilities to its various legacy networks. These efforts were critical in helping OPM to identify the recent cybersecurity incidents.’

In a response to the OIG, Schumach said in an emailed statement to media, Cobert said progress is being made around OPM’s cyber stature.

‘[S]she has observed that the team, including the Office of the Chief Information Officer u2013 working side-by-side with experts from across the Federal government u2013 has been working incredibly hard to enhance the security of our information technology systems and support those who have been affected by the recent cybersecurity incidents,’ the press secretary said. ‘The recent results of the Cybersecurity Sprint demonstrate the progress that has been made, although everyone recognizes there is more to do.’

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