Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta resigned Friday in the wake of data breaches that resulted in information on more than 22 million current and former federal employees, and those close to them being stolen from government servers.
Archuleta submitted her resignation to President Barack Obama Friday morning, less than 24 hours after OPM announced the results of an investigation into the breach that targeted an OPM system containing background investigations on 21.5 million people who applied for federal background checks and in some case their references, predominantly spouses or co-habitants of applicants.
In a statement, Archuleta said she told the president she was resigning to let new leadership to step in, “enabling the agency to move beyond the current challenges.”
“Leading this agency has been the highlight of my career,” she said in the statement. “The OPM family is comprised of some of the most dedicated, capable and hardworking individuals in the federal government. Each of them does so much in service of our country – whether it is through protecting our security by conducting background investigations; working to ensure Federal employees and their families have the best possible health coverage available; or working to assist our federal retirees and their families in the smooth processing of their annuities. I thank them, from the bottom of my heart.”
In a press call Thursday, Archuleta succinctly said “no” when she was asked if she would step down in the breaches’ wake. Numerous lawmakers spent Thursday night calling on Archuleta to resign.
One such lawmaker, Rep. Tied Lieu, D-Calif., said in a release he appreciated Archuleta’s service to the nation, but called on OPM and the rest of the federal government to “immediately turn a page and make cyber security a top, urgent priority.”
“I came to Congress to find solutions to the foremost challenges facing our nation and I look forward to working with the Administration and the new Director at OPM to improve our cyber security,” Lieu said. “The massive security clearance breach also shows that OPM is not the proper agency to protect the crown jewels of American intelligence. OPM was never designed to be an intelligence or national security agency. We should not be trying to fit a square into a round hole.”
According to White House officials, Beth Cobert, the deputy director of management for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, will serve as acting director in her absence.