In a bipartisan effort, Reps. Ted Lieu and Steve Russell have come together in their mission to remove the Office of Personnel Management’s control over security clearances following a massive data breach in December.
The California Democrat and Oklahoma Republican wrote David Mader, the OPM’s acting deputy director for management, Wednesday voicing their concerns over the agency’s “failure to address known vulnerabilities.”
More than 20 million federal employees and contractors’ personal information was exposed in the hack, which investigators traced back to China.
“We strongly believe that security clearance data — which has been described as the ‘crown jewels’ of our national intelligence — should not be protected by the OPM, which is neither an intelligence agency nor a defense organization,” the members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote.
The lawmakers said it is “inappropriate” for an agency that wasn’t designed with a national security focus to be responsible for protecting sensitive data and pushed for the modernization of the SF-86 to protect data from 21st-century cyber threats.
They suggested the Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council (PAC) be in charge of finding a new location and urged the PAC to consider reducing the number of security clearances given.
The duo said they are preparing a bill that would require secure information to be moved from the OPM to another agency like the Department of Defense, The Hill reports.
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