Seventeen House Republicans on Friday called on President Obama to fire Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta and another top official, and said they have no confidence in their ability to deal with what many are saying was the largest cyberattack against the government ever seen.
Lawmakers also want Obama to remove Donna Seymour, who leads the OPM department charged with overseeing cybersecurity.
"We have lost confidence in Director Archuleta's ability to secure OPM's networks and protect the data of millions of Americans," House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and others wrote. "We have also lost confidence in … Seymour's ability to do the same."
The letter comes after Archuleta and Seymour have spent two weeks on Capitol Hill answering for the two massive data breaches dating back to at least last year that allowed the sensitive information about at least 4.2 million current and former federal workers to fall into the hands of hackers. Unnamed officials have said the hack originated in China.
"Simply put, the recent breach was entirely foreseeable," and Archuleta and Seymour "failed to take steps to prevent it from happening, despite repeated warnings."
Warnings about "material weakness" in the government's human resources department's cybersecurity policies and practices came from OPM's inspector general, and date as far back as 2007.
Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday, OPM Inspector General Patrick McFarland told the panel that he too does not believe that Archuleta and her team are capable of sufficiently shoring up the agency's security.
"This country's hard working federal employees deserve better, and Americans with security clearances whose lives may now be at risk deserve better," the Chaffetz letter said. "These systems are too important to leave unsecured."