Breaking News Emails
Embattled Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta announced Friday she is resigning, one day after the government revealed that more than 22 million people had their data stolen in a pair of massive cyberattacks on the agency.
“I conveyed to the president that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership that will enable the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allow the employees at OPM to continue their important work,” Archuleta said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Archuleta came to the White House on Friday morning to offer her resignation and President Barack Obama accepted. She did so "of her own volition," Earnest said at a press briefing.
"It's quite clear ... that new leadership with a set of skills and experiences that are unique to the urgent challenges that OPM faces are badly needed," Earnest said.
Archuleta's resignation came after a growing number of legislators from both parties, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded that she step down.
Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, will assume the role of acting director of OPM.
"The resignation of the OPM director does not in any way absolve the president of the responsibility to repair this damage to our national security," Boehner and fellow House GOP leaders said in a statement.
"This is the right move for the agency and all those affected by the breach," said Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "The focus now needs to be on fixing the problem and protecting those impacted."
On Thursday, Archueta and other federal officials revealed that a total of 22.1 million people were affected by a pair of security breaches that affected former and current federal employees, their spouses, and contractors. Stolen information included Social Security numbers, background interviews with friends and family, medical data, and an estimated 1.1 million fingerprint records.
The first breach to be announced, which affected 4.2 million people, was detected by OPM in April. According to officials, the "same actor" was responsible for the second breach. That one involved sensitive information from background checks stolen from 21.5 million people.
Federal officials have declined to say who they believe is behind the massive cyberattacks, although Director of National Intelligence James Clapper named China as the "leading suspect" last month at a conference.
Archuleta had led OPM since November 2013. Critics said she and her top staff ignored or were slow to act on findings from internal audits that the agency’s databases were insecure.