After yesterday’s calls from congressional Republicans to step down, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta told reporters she wouldn’t be stepping down.
“I am committed to the work that I am doing at OPM,” she said on a Thursday conference call when pressed on whether she would resign. “To those that have been directly affected by this theft of information, I truly understand the impact this has on our current and former federal employees, our military personnel and our contractors. Each and every one of us at OPM is committed to protecting the safety and security of the information that is placed in our trust. And we remain committed to do everything in our power to assist those that have been impacted by this incident.”
Today, she was out.
Archuleta, a national political director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and former director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, was appointed to head OPM in 2013.
“Today I informed the OPM workforce that I am stepping down as the leader of this remarkable agency and the remarkable people who work for it,” Archuleta said in a statement. “I conveyed to the president that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership that will enable the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allow the employees at OPM to continue their important work.”
In June, OPM alerted four million individuals whose personal information was compromised in a massive data breach. Yesterday OPM said a second breach hit 21.5 million people.
“While leadership certainly matters, the resignation of the OPM Director does not reduce the damage caused by this data breach,” Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) said. “The 22 million Americans who have had their personal privacy violated and sensitive information stolen by hackers continue to wait for answers from OPM and the administration. We need to know the true scope of the OPM data breach, how this happened, what is being done to protect the victims from criminal activity, and what steps are being taken not only at OPM – but across all federal government agencies – to make certain we are safeguarded from future cyber-attacks.”
“It is past time for the accountability and answers needed to restore Americans’ confidence that they, their families, and our national security are not at risk.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said the resignation “is the absolutely right call.”
“OPM needs a competent, technically savvy leader to manage the biggest cybersecurity crisis in this nation’s history. The IG has been warning about security lapses at OPM for almost a decade,” Chaffetz said. “This should have been addressed much, much sooner but I appreciate the president doing what’s best now.”
“In the future, positions of this magnitude should be awarded on merit and not out of patronage to political operatives.”