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Gov’t Data Breach Included FBI Files, and May Have Affected Four Times As Many Americans As First Thought

The more information that comes out about the recent data breach of the federal government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the more troubling it gets.

This week, CNN reported that FBI Director James Corney told a group of Senators that the data breach, originally thought to have affected the personnel files of around 4 million government employees, may have actually affected 18 million, more than four times as many people as originally thought.

Those affected include both current and former employees, applicants to government jobs and those applying for secret clearances.

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Applications for security clearances, known as SF86 questionnaires, also contain the information of family members, friends, acquaintances and colleagues who can vouch for the applicant's character and job history.

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Government Data Breach Affects Millions of Americans
Officials Fear Massive Federal Data Breach Could Lead to Further Acts of Foreign Espionage

In addition, officials now believe the hackers also got into FBI files, which could be very troubling for national security, The Hill and Newsweek report.

An unnamed FBI agent reportedly told Newsweek the OPM informed him in May that his personnel file had been compromised, which raises concerns about leaked counterintelligence and national security information.

In light of these and other recent data breaches of government systems - including the Internal Revenue Service, White House and State Department - OPM Director Katherine Archuleta announced on Capitol Hill this week that the agency will be bringing on a new cyber security advisor, NBC reported.

The as-yet unnamed advisor, whom Archuleta said should be in place by August 1, will report directly to her and will be tasked with several projects, including evaluating the agency's entire IT system to determine if it needs an overhaul, and managing the OPM's recovery and response to the recent hacks.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said this week that China is the "number-one suspect" in the recent government data breaches, though Archuleta declined to support that statement or name any names when testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

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