NFFE Demanding Accountability and Lifetime of Protection in Wake of OPM Data Breach
In June, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced the discovery of a data breach that compromised the personnel files of 4.2 federal employees. Following a subsequent investigation, it was revealed that private information for an estimated 22.1 million people was stolen from OPM databases. Among those affected include federal employees, contractors, security clearance applicants, and family members of those applicants.
From the onset, it was clear that OPM and the companies contracted to provide assistance in the wake of the attack were ill-prepared to adequately answer the questions from millions of federal employees – all of whom had their personal information exposed at no fault of their own. When OPM announced that the number of people exposed exceeded 20 million, the fiasco reached a breaking point, and OPM Director Katherine Archuleta tenured her resignation on July 10, 2015.
While the naming of Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Beth Cobert as Acting OPM Director is a good temporary solution, the agency still faces a significant void of leadership until a anew OPM director can be confirmed.
Now, not only do federal employees have to worry about their own personal information being exposed—but they must also worry about their spouse and children having their information compromised. Throughout this still-developing cyber-attack, NFFE has repeatedly called for the agency to be more transparent and responsive in addressing the widespread concerns of the federal workforce. Additionally, NFFE called on the Administration to provide far greater protections for those affected – including lifelong credit monitoring.
“Simply firing the chief executive of OPM will solve nothing,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Federal employees remain in a state of uncertainty and that needs to change. Federal employees and the millions of others affected deserve real answers and straight talk from the administration. Since the data breach became public, federal employees have been given a slow drip of progressively bad news from OPM. We want the truth about what has occurred, we want assurance that the administration is going to protect those exposed for their entire lives, and we want to make certain that something like this never happens again. America’s dedicated civil servants deserve better than the treatment they have received. It is time for some real change in the way this administration is handling this crisis.”