More Reasons OPM’s Cyber Chief Needs To Go

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Ethan Barton Editor in Chief
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Office of Personnel Management (OPM) officials put millions of taxpayer dollars “at risk for waste or loss” by violating federal regulations when enlisting a company to track credit for victims of April’s breach, according to the agency’s watchdog.

OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour “determined that credit monitoring and identity theft services would be needed” by June 8 to protect 4.2 million current and former government employees whose private information was stolen by hackers in April, according an OPM inspector general (IG) report released Thursday.

The IG, however, found OPM violated federal regulations by awarding the Winkle Group LLC a contract worth up to $20.8 million for 18 months of credit report access and monitoring and $1 million in identity theft insurance.

“It is evident that significant deficiencies existed in [OPM’s] management of the contract award process,” the report says. Ignoring federal requirements “increased the risk of making an improper award” and “millions of taxpayer dollars were put at risk for waste or loss.”

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman [crscore]Jason Chaffetz[/crscore] used the report to renew calls for Seymour’s termination.

Seymour “is unfit to perform the significant duties for which she is responsible,” Chaffetz writes in a letter Thursday.

The Utah Republican has called for Seymour’s resignation on at least five separate occasions.

On one occasion, OPM responded that they were “working incredibly hard,” The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.

“It is troubling that yet another IG report has found that Ms. Seymour failed to effectively fulfill her duties,” Chaffetz says. “Further, the results of the committee’s ongoing investigation have validated the IG’s initial concerns related to OPM network infrastructure improvement project. The record is clear that six months after the American people first learned about OPM’s spectacular failure at securing sensitive personal information, change is needed in the Office of the Chief Information Officer.”

OPM’s breach earlier this year may have been prevented if agency officials followed previous IG recommendations, TheDCNF previously reported.

One problem the IG reported Thursday is that the Winkle Group’s bid for the contract excluded a statement of work. Also, OPM’s contracting officer skipped required steps in the contract award process, including thorough market research, and OPM’s contracting officer didn’t thoroughly research market prices, the IG reports.

“In addition, we determined that the contracting officer did not obtain estimated costs from vendors during market research,” the report says.

Additionally, OPM didn’t complete certain documents until after the Winkle Group was awarded the contract.

The IG couldn’t “obtain an accurate history of the actions taken by the contracting officer because key documents … were not prepared until after the contract award,” the report says. “Due to these issues, we were not confident that the contracting file gives a complete and accurate history of the actions taken to award the contract.”

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