OPM tells lawmakers their information was likely stolen

Greg Nash

Members of Congress have started receiving notices that their information was likely stolen in the massive cyberattack that exposed millions of federal workers’ records.

It was initially believed that congressional employees were not compromised by the breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), but it has since become clear that they are at risk.

{mosads}Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who sits on the Intelligence Committee, received a letter Wednesday from the OPM.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) also said in a letter sent Wednesday to OPM that she had been notified by the agency.

NBC News first reported Collins’s letter.

Both lawmakers were informed the hackers had likely taken their Social Security numbers, dates and places of birth and any current or former home addresses. In total, it’s believed up to 14 million people have been exposed across the government, military and contracting sector.

Additionally, all security clearance files, with data on friends, family and roommates, are thought to have been compromised by a second hack revealed last week.

Officials privately suspect China is behind the cyberattack.

The OPM doesn’t manage Capitol Hill staffers’ personnel files, but retirement records are forwarded to the agency when they leave.  

Additionally, any Hill staffer who previously worked for another federal agency has been exposed, according to emails sent Tuesday night to House and Senate workers.

“It now appears likely that the service records of current House employees employed previously by ANY federal government entity (including the House, if an individual left the House and later returned to a House position) may have been compromised,” said an email from House chief administrative officer Ed Cassidy.

That is probably how Collins’s data was taken, the senator rationalized. Former President George H.W. Bush appointed Collins to serve on the Small Business Administration in 1992 before she was elected to the Senate in 1996.

Comstock held a variety of positions on Capitol Hill and in the federal government through the 1990s and 2000s.

She was a senior aide to former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), whom she later succeeded in Congress, and also senior counsel on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. On the executive branch side, Comstock was the director of public affairs for the Justice Department in the early 2000s. 

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