Katherine Archuleta, the embattled Office of Personnel Management director, resigned last week amid a cascading scandal over her handling of a massive breach of federal employee records that included security-clearance details dating back 15 years.
Archuleta, who has been at the helm of OPM since November 2013, faced pressure from a rush of lawmakers who called for her firing, including the top three House Republicans and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Most recently, sensitive information from at least 15 years of background investigations of 21.5 million employees, contractors and job applicants seeking security clearances, and their families, was compromised. That was in addition to another theft, first revealed on June 4, of personal data on 4.2 million employees, including Social Security numbers.
According to the Washington Post, “confidence in her was shaken beyond repair.” Beth Cobert, OPM’s deputy director for management, will take over Archuleta’s job. She will now be tasked with implementing changes already underway, like boosting the use of two-factor authentication and reducing the number of “privileged users” on the agency’s networks. She will also oversee the benefits provided to those affected by the hacks, and the selection of a contractor to deliver those services.
“I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership to step in, enabling the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allowing the employees at OPM to continue their important work,” said a prepared statement by Archuleta. “I am honored to have led this organization and to have served alongside the incredible team at OPM. I have complete confidence in their ability to continue fulfill OPM’s important mission of recruiting, retaining and honoring a world-class workforce to serve the American People.”