Katherine Archuleta Resigns as OPM Director (Updated)
Updated 1:17 p.m. | Katherine Archuleta resigned Friday as director of the Office of Personnel Management, one day after disclosing that tens of millions of OPM accounts had been hacked — far more than initially disclosed.
Her resignation, accepted by the president, takes effect at the end of the day, and comes after she insisted she would not resign. “Archuleta made clear to the president that she believed it was best for her to step aside and allow new leadership that would enable the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allow the employees at OPM to continue their important work,” a White House official said. “This includes responding to the recent breaches affecting personal information and improving the OPM systems to mitigate risks in the future.”
Beth Cobert, the chief performance officer and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, will take over for now as acting director of OPM.
“I conveyed to the President that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership to step in, enabling the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allowing the employees at OPM to continue their important work,” Archuleta wrote in her statement.
She also said she was “proud of the work we have done to develop the REDI initiative and our IT Strategic Plan,” without mentioning the massive data breach.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest credited Archuleta with implementing changes that detected the data breach.
Members of Congress, who have torched Archuleta from both sides of the aisle over the unprecedented breach, sounded happy she’s out.
“This is the absolute right call,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. “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. 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.”
Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the move as “one that will help to restore confidence in an agency that not only poorly defended sensitive data of millions of Americans but struggled to respond to repeated intrusions.”
“In the weeks and months ahead, it is clear that much more work will be needed to safeguard our networks, especially those which hold the most sensitive details about Government employees, many of whom are entrusted with critical national security missions.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said he and Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., are working on a bill to move security clearances out of the OPM.
“The massive security clearance breach also shows that OPM is not the proper agency to protect the crown jewels of American intelligence,” Lieu said in a statement. “OPM was never designed to be an intelligence or national security agency.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., had predicted Archuleta might get tossed aside.
“In the coming days, when OPM provides Congress more details about the hack, Director Katherine Archuleta may play the sacrificial lamb and lose her job,” he wrote Thursday in a Wired column. “This will be a transparent attempt to con the public into thinking the problem is solved. At best, firings are consequences, not solutions.”
On Friday, he sent out a statement on the resignation: “Not enough.”