Members of the law enforcement community are sounding the alarm that the recent data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), where personnel files and security clearance and background investigation files are presumed to have been taken by foreign actors, has threatened the safety of law enforcement officers and their loved ones.
“OPM’s monumental and inexcusable blunder has placed the lives of an unknown number of Federal Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and their families in jeopardy,” said Jon Adler, President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) following a House hearing into the data breach.
“The stolen PII could be used in any number of detrimental ways to threaten American lives, including recruiting or blackmailing Americans and others into spying or stealing information against the United States. Yet, OPM’s lazy and unprofessional response has left officers to question what the agency is doing virtually and physically to protect them,” Adler continued.
“If one LEO or a family member is harmed or killed, OPM will have blood on their hands,” FLEOA’s Adler stated in a letter to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.
The group has called for background investigations to come back under the control of the FBI and for the creation of a separate, secure database to for individuals with security clearances.
FLEOA also demanded OPM outline the steps they are taking to ensure the “long-term virtual and physical protections for those in danger, including lifetime credit and other monitoring to detect and prevent attacks by international adversaries, criminals and terrorists.”
Several questions are also posed to the Director specifically regarding unanswered questions about the data breach and concludes, “FLEOA’s members and families, who currently fear for their lives due to the failure of your agency to protect their most sensitive information, anxiously await your response.”