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OPM technology head resigns ahead of hearing on data breach

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 23, 2016 at 7:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Donna Seymour, the chief information officer for the Office of Personnel Management, resigned ahead of a Congressional hearing over the agency's massive data breach.

Seymour was scheduled to testify at a hearing on Wednesday at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the OPM data breach in which the personal information of up to 21.5 million former, current and prospective federal employees and contractors was compromised.

Information stolen included the results from background checks, fingerprints and Social Security numbers.

"It is in the agency's best interest that my presence does not distract from the great work this team does every single day," Seymour said in a letter to employees announcing her retirement.

Seymour is named as a defendant in a potential class-action lawsuit filed by the American Federation of Government Employees that alleges Seymour and former OPM Director Kathleen Archuleta were negligent in protecting the personal information of current and former government employees.

China has been accused of carrying out the hack since it was first revealed. The data breach generated mass criticism of the OPM. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has repeatedly called for Seymour's resignation.

"Ms. Seymour's retirement is good news and an important turning point for OPM. While I am disappointed Ms. Seymour will no longer appear before our committee this week to answer to the American people, her retirement is necessary and long overdue," Chaffetz said in a statement. "On her watch, whether through negligence or incompetence, millions of Americans lost their privacy and personal data. The national security implications of this entirely foreseeable breach are far-reaching and long-lasting. OPM now needs a qualified CIO at the helm to right the ship and restore confidence in the agency."

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