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Personnel boss quits in data breach

Published 10/07/2015

The Homeland Security Department headquarters in north-west Washington DC (AP)
The Homeland Security Department headquarters in north-west Washington DC (AP)

The head of the US government's personnel office has resigned after a massive data breach on her watch.

A White House official said president Barack Obama accepted the resignation of Office of Personnel Management director Katherine Archuleta this morning.

The official said deputy director Beth Cobert will become acting director tomorrow.

Ms Archuleta's resignation comes the day after her agency disclosed that hackers stole the personal information of more than 21 million people. Previous government estimates of how many were affected by the breach were far smaller.

Members of Congress in both parties had demanded Ms Archuleta's resignation.

The scope of the data breach, believed to be the biggest in US history, has grown dramatically since the government first said earlier this year that hackers had got into the OPM personnel database and stolen records for about 4.2 million people.

Since then, the administration has acknowledged a second, related breach of the systems housing private data that individuals submit during background investigations to obtain security clearances.

That second attack affected more than 19 million people who applied for clearances, as well as nearly two million of their spouses, housemates and others who never applied for security clearances, the administration said.

Among the data the hackers stole was criminal, financial, health, employment and residency histories, as well as information about their families and acquaintances.

The new revelations drew indignation from members of Congress who said the administration had not done enough to protect personal data in their systems, and called for Ms Archuleta and her top deputies to resign.

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