House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) suggested Wednesday that the largest federal hack in history could ultimately put as many as 32 million people at risk.
Chaffetz based his estimate on the Office of Personnel Management’s budget request, submitted in February. OPM officials have acknowledged that two separate breaches laid bare millions of federal workers’ information to hackers thought to be based in China.
“Let me read to you what you wrote on Feb. 2 of this year,” Chaffetz said to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta during the Wednesday hearing, noting that the OPM claimed it was “a proprietor” of personally identifiable information on 32 million federal employees and retirees.
“Are you here to tell me that information is all safe? Or is it potentially 32 million records here that are at play?” Chaffetz asked.
“We’re reviewing the number and scope of the breach,” Archuleta replied.
In recent days, it’s been reported that 18 million people — including federal workers, military and intelligence community personnel, as well as friends and family named in background investigations — are potentially affected by the breach.
In her opening testimony at the Oversight Committee hearing, Archuleta indicated this number may fall short of the total, calling it “a preliminary, unverified and approximate number.”
“It is a number I am not comfortable with at this time because it does not represent the total number of affected individuals,” she added.
Chaffetz pressed Archuleta several times on the scope of the hack.
“I’m asking you for a range,” he said. “It could be as high as 32 million?”
“I’m not going to give you a number I’m not sure of,” Archuleta said.