Sen. Warner: OPM Breach Part of Troubling Pattern

Senate Select Intelligence Committee member Mark Warner (D-Va.) reacted late Thursday (June 4) to the news that the sensitive personal information of 4 million current and past federal employees were exposed in a data breach at the Office of Personeel Management (OPM).

Warner pointed out that he had authored an amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act -- which passed the intelligence committee in March - -that would "require the intelligence community to produce a comprehensive accounting of the threat from cyberattacks and cybercrime, how the United States can better share intelligence with partner nations, what new technologies could help, and the extent to which prompt reporting of data breaches can help combat this threat."

Among other things, the bill would make it easier for NCTA members to share cyber threat information.

“Today's reported breach is part of a troubling pattern by this agency in failing to secure the personal data of federal employees – the second major breach in a year," said Warner. "Cyberattacks present a critical threat to our national security and our economy.  We cannot afford to keep dragging our feet in addressing the escalating threats posed by hackers out to steal individuals’ personal information.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called it disturbing, particularly if reports are true that China was behind the hack.

“It is even more troubling that this is only the latest in a series of cyberattacks on the Office of Personnel Management," Johnson said. "Sen. OPM says it ‘has undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture.’ Plainly, it must do a better job, especially given the sensitive nature of the information it holds.”

It was not clear at press time who, if anyone, at the FCC was affected. OPM simply announced about how many people were affected, not at which agencies. An FCC spokesperson said they would check, but was not sure whether OPM was informing agencies or only the individuals.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.