Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperUS intelligence community 'struggled' to brief Trump in 2016, CIA review shows An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Hillicon Valley — Justice Department takes on Uber MORE on Thursday expressed support for President Obama’s nomination of Beth Cobert to the permanent position of director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
“Beth is a valued colleague, dedicated public servant and supportive partner to the Intelligence Community,” Clapper said in a statement. “Upon confirmation, I look forward to working with her and the OPM staff to address mutual challenges and enhance our collaboration.”
Obama nominated Cobert, the agency's current acting director, on Tuesday, just months after the previous director resigned amid what is thought to be the largest government data breach ever.
Cobert has held the reins since former OPM head Katherine Archuleta stepped down in July, ceding to lawmakers’ demands that she be fired in favor of a more tech-savvy leader.
“Beth will bring tremendous depth and quality of experience to her role as director of the Office of Personnel Management,” Obama said in a statement. “As acting director, Beth has effectively pursued strategies to strengthen cybersecurity and improve the way the government serves citizens, businesses and the federal workforce both past and present.”
The nomination has met with praise from Capitol Hill.
"In my initial meetings with Beth Cobert, she has impressed me as a talented, qualified and competent choice for OPM director,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was the perhaps the most vocal critic of Archuleta and OPM leadership during a series of hearings on the hacks.
The breach, which exposed the personal information of 21.5 million federal employees and others, is widely thought to have been an intelligence-gathering mission conducted by Beijing.
Clapper has indicated that China is "the leading suspect," noting that “you have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did.”
The OPM continues to face scrutiny for its handling of the breach.
The notification process in particular has come under fire. At the beginning of this month, only a quarter of the victims had been notified, six months after the breach was detected.
Cobert has called for patience throughout the notification process, which she warned could take “considerable time.”