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  • Hacked Fed Agencies Skip Hearing On Them Getting Hacked. Their Reason? Absurd

    Most people don’t like being told they’ve made a mistake and a few federal agencies decided they have had enough of Congress telling them about their mistakes.

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) all declined to attend a congressional hearing on the hack of OPM that exposed the personal information of millions of federal employees, BBC reported Nov. 18.

    Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement “OPM, Homeland Security and OMB’s last-minute refusal to appear before this committee is unacceptable.  Their excuse, that the testimony would be on the record, is disturbing … Let me be clear; this briefing covers the largest government data breach in history.” (RELATED: Lawmakers Press White House To Strip OPM’s Control Over Security Clearances)

    OPM was the target of a cyber attack in June that left roughly 21 million federal employees exposed. Names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, and other personally identifiable information were stolen. The information of employees and also their family members and dependents was at risk. (RELATED: Federal Agencies Still Lacking On Cybersecurity After OPM Debacle)

    “The Department has already been forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in identity protection services to try and repair the damage.  There is no excuse at all for being unwilling to explain on the record about how the breach happened and what we are doing to prevent another one,” Thornberry said. “What could they possibly have to hide? What a disservice to the men and women who placed their trust in these agencies.”

    The departments released a joint statement Nov. 17 on their absence stating:

    Since May, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have engaged in more than a dozen classified briefings and open hearings to ensure our partners in Congress are supported with the most up-to-date information on this issue. Unfortunately, we were unable to accommodate a last-minute change in the request today. We look forward to working with our partners in Congress for a briefing in the future.

    Cybersecurity hearings are a common occurrence now for targets, in addition to OPM, including both the public and private sector.

    Up to 25,000 DHS employee records were exposed during a cyber attack in 2014 against a federal contractor responsible for security clearances. (RELATED: DHS Secretary Blasts San Francisco Sanctuary City Policy [VIDEO])

    Anthem, the health insurance giant, was hacked in Feb. and the records of up to 80 million customers were at risk. Additionally, because both Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield shared servers, between 8.8 million and 18.8 million Blue Cross customers were also affected. (RELATED: US Healthcare Under Tidal Wave Of Chinese Hacking)

    “Members of the Congress have an obligation to understand this serious issue.  We have a role to play in preventing another breach,” Thornberry said. “We owe it to our constituents, our troops, and their families to be careful stewards of this matter, and we will not stop until we get the information we are owed.”

    Follow Steve Ambrose on Twitter

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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