OPM Director Katherine Archuleta testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the breach.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the breach. Cliff Owen/AP

OPM Chief Isn't Planning to Step Down Just Yet

White House says Archuleta is the 'right person' for the job, despite bipartisan calls for her ouster.

Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta has no plans to step down from her post, despite the growing chorus of lawmakers asking her to resign in the wake of the massive data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of current and former federal employees.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., was the first to call for Archuleta to step down, saying during a hearing Tuesday the status quo was unacceptable and “a few good people” should accept responsibility and resign “for the good of the country.” House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, later backed up Lieu’s request, saying if Archuleta and other members of OPM do not resign, President Obama should fire them.

On Wednesday, Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the oversight panel's Subcommittee on Government Operations, joined the calls for Archuleta to resign.

“It is time that Director Archuleta step down and be replaced with someone prepared to immediately address cybersecurity vulnerabilities at the agency,” Meadows said. 

Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., echoed the call, citing Archuleta’s refusal to “acknowledge the errors OPM has made or apologize to the millions of affected Americans.”

Archuleta conceded on Tuesday no one at OPM has been fired in connection to the hack. And despite the bipartisan pleas for her removal, she has vowed to stay on and see through the improvement of OPM’s network protections.

“Director Archuleta is committed to finishing the important work outlined in her IT strategic plan,” OPM spokesman Sam Schumach said in response to a question about Archuleta’s future plans. “OPM will continue to evaluate and improve security systems to make sure our sensitive data is protected to the greatest extent possible, across all networks.”

The White House also threw its support behind the embattled director, with Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying on Wednesday President Obama “does have confidence she is the right person for that job.”

Earnest added this is an issue Archuleta and OPM have been dealing with “for some time,” and the administration will work with Congress to allow for proper oversight.

“There obviously is a lot of work that needs to be done there, but there’s some important work that’s already been done,” Earnest said of improving the protections of federal employees’ data. He added some “senior White House officials” have been in touch with senior OPM leadership to discuss the breach.

Earnest noted improving OPM’s cyber defenses was one of the first challenges Archuleta took on when she was sworn in as director 19 months ago. When the director made that point to the oversight committee on Tuesday, however, it led to Chaffetz telling her she had “failed, utterly and completely.” 

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