Breaking News Emails
A key member of the Senate Intelligence Committee has been informed she is likely among the millions of federal government workers whose personal information was stolen in a cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management, according to a letter obtained by NBC News.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, received a letter from the OPM’s chief information officer Wednesday informing her that Social Security number, date and place of birth, and current or former address may have been compromised in the hack disclosed last week.
"You are receiving this notification because we have determined that the data compromised in this incident may have included your personal information," the letter to Collins reads, “Please be assured that OPM remains deeply committed to protecting the privacy and security of information and has taken the appropriate steps to respond to this intrusion."
Congressional aides say the vast majority of members of Congress have not been affected by the hack simply because their information was never input into OPM’s system. OPM effectively acts as the human resources department for federal government workers.
"Like millions of Americans my personal data was compromised," Collins said after she received the letter, explaining that she suspects her information and compromised data was likely due to a federal form she filled out more than 20 years ago.
Collins was appointed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the Small Business Administration before she was elected to the Senate in 1996.
The admission that Sen Collins’ information may have been hacked comes just hours after staff members in both House and Senate offices were sent a notice that their information may have also been compromised.
In an email sent to staff members in the House, Chief Administrative Officer Ed Cassidy warned “the impact of the recent breach of (OPM’s) information systems is wider than first announced.”
Cassidy warned that "the service records of current House employees employed previously by ANY federal government entity" could be compromised, in addition to background investigation files of individuals holding security clearances.
In a hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta came under fierce criticism for the hack, which affected at least 4.2 million federal employees.
"In an average month, OPM, for example, thwarts 10 million confirmed intrusion attempts targeting our network. These attacks will not stop — if anything, they will increase," Archuleta told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Archuleta blamed the OPM’s antiquated computer system for their inability to thwart the most recent cyberattack, saying the systems "have gone neglected when they’ve needed much resources."
But the Committee’s Chairman, Rep Jason Chaffetz, a Republican representing Utah, was highly critical of Archuleta at the hearing, saying she has “failed utterly and totally” for not implementing proper security practices.
"You made a conscious decision, knowing that it was vulnerable, that all these millions of records for federal employees was out there, you — the inspector general pointed out the vulnerability, and you said, 'No, we're not making a change,'"Chaffetz told Archuleta at the hearing.
Chaffetz later told reporters he believed Archuleta should step down as director of OPM.