Hack toll rises again: FBI says 18 million people may have been hit

Hack toll rises again: FBI says 18 million people may have been hit
© Getty Images

The number just keeps growing.

As many as 18 million people are now thought to be affected by the recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach, CNN reported.


FBI Director James Comey apparently made the estimate to senators in a closed-door briefing in recent weeks. He based his prediction on OPM data.

The OPM has yet to revise its initial estimate that 4.2 million current and former executive branch workers were affected by the breach.

But officials have acknowledged a second intrusion that stretched back to last June, exposing millions of security clearance background check files for the military and intelligence community, as well as government contractors.

Up until now, the high-water mark for people affected appeared to be 14 million people, based on sources on Capitol Hill and within the federal workforce.

“Obviously they started at 4 million,” House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told reporters while exiting a briefing on the hack with administration officials. “That number is increasing.”

The slow drip of bad news about the breach has frustrated lawmakers, who have accused the administration of withholding information.

“They’re just not giving us much information,” Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonImmigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart GOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Rand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters last Thursday.

The ongoing revelations have also hurt OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, who is on the hot seat as she is slated to testify three times before Congress this week.