Suspected Chinese hackers breached FBI agents’ personnel files as part of the broader attack on the federal government that has laid bare millions of people’s data, Newsweek reported.
Putting FBI agents' data at risk could have national security implications; many investigate domestic terrorist plots and foreign spies.
It’s still unclear exactly whose information has been pilfered following a massive digital siege on the Office of Personnel Management.
Initially, the OPM said a hack had exposed 4.2 million current and former executive branch employees.
A week later, the personnel agency revealed a second breach of a security clearance database that contained the background check files of millions of military and intelligence community. The FBI is part of the intelligence community.
A widely reported estimate that 18 million people were affected by the second intrusion was disputed by OPM Director Katherine Archuleta on Thursday, who said that number could rise even higher.
It’s not clear whether the reported FBI infiltration was part of the first or second breach. As an intelligence community agency, it would make sense it was part of the larger hack.
But an unnamed FBI source told Newsweek the OPM notified him in May that his personnel file had been compromised, which was before the agency had started sending notices about the second breach.
The FBI has more than 35,000 employees.
The ramifications of those employees’ info getting out could be “mind boggling,” the source told Newsweek, “because there are counterintelligence implications, national security implications.”