Cybersecurity

Intel chief: OPM data hasn’t yet been used against US

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Data stolen during the recent massive government data breach has not yet been deployed against U.S. interests, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday.

“There’s been no evidence to this point of the use of this data in a nefarious way,” Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee during a rare open hearing.

{mosads}It was revealed in July that cyber thieves had made off with more than 22 million people’s data — including over 20 million security clearance background investigation forms — in two hacks at the Office of Personnel Management.

The incident spurred fears that the pilfered data, thought be in the hands of Chinese officials who orchestrated the digital assault, could be used to blackmail government officials or out covert American agents.

To date this hasn’t happened, Clapper said. As such, the government can’t define the first-of-its-kind digital theft as an “attack.”

There was no destruction or manipulation of the data, the intelligence head explained. The information was “simply stolen,” he added.

“Passive intelligence collection activity, just as we do,” Clapper said.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) pushed back against the assessment.

“I do think it seems to minimize the gravity of this event by characterizing it as not an attack,” he responded.

If these types of nefarious activity were occurring, “we wouldn’t know that yet,” Stewart said. “We don’t really know what has been the effect of this being taken.”

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