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OPM head: ‘I’m as angry as you’ about poor fraud protection

OPM head: ‘I’m as angry as you’ about poor fraud protection
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Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta told senators Tuesday “I’m as angry as you are” about reports that credit monitoring firm CSID has offered substandard service to the millions of victims of the recent federal data breach.

Federal workers unions and lawmakers have roundly criticised CSID for its long call-wait times, frequent website crashes and inadequate information about its complimentary identity fraud protection services provided in the wake of the OPM breach, which potentially exposed as many as 18 million people.

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“I don’t know that they’ve experienced anything of this magnitude,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, which was holding the hearing.

“We believe they have the capability and capacity to handle this,” Archuleta said in her first public comments since the reports of poor service last week.

She noted CSID had worked with Sony Pictures in the wake of the crippling cyberattack on its systems.

“What steps are you taking to oversee the services provided by the contractor?” Boozman asked.

“I want to be sure that they're doing everything they can to reduce those wait times, and that's why I have instructed my [chief information officer] and her team to work with my contractor to improve daily the services they're giving to our employees,” Archuleta said.

“My employees should not have to experience that, and that is why we are demanding from our contractor that they improve their services,” she added.

It is not clear whether the millions of non-goverment employees exposed by the breach will receive the same free identity fraud protection services from CSID. 

Some lawmakers, such as Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), have also expressed concerns that OPM rushed the $20 million CSID contract and “intentionally steered the contract to CSID.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) raised those worries at Tuesday’s hearing.

Archuleta maintained: “The processes followed in awarding the already existing contracts have been perfectly legal.”